Quick & Easy for Busy Holiday Gatherings
As the leaves turn in Wine Country California and the air begins to chill, we turn to a little comfort food. This month we love to share our quick and easy Monte Cristo Sandwiches which are perfect for both lunch and dinner. Cut into small, bit size bits for a simple, yet yummy appetizer to share with friends and family.
These fancy ham and cheese sandwiches pair beautifully with rich Gewürztraminer and oaky Chardonnay found at local Sonoma wineries and throughout Wine Country California. Whip up a batch of sandwiches and try different wines for a little tasting delight. Let your palette explore how the taste of the sandwich will change with different wines.
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
GATHER THESE INGREDIENTS
- 6 slices of bread, sliced ½ to ¾-inch
- Choose your favorite bread (French, sourdough, etc.)
- ¼ cup (½ stick) of butter, salted
- Tip: taste your ham, if very salty, opt for unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 5 ounces medium or sharp Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
- Tip: Swap Cheddar for other firm, meltable cheese of your choice (we love Gruyère and Emmental cheese too)
- 3 ounces ham, smoked and thinly sliced
- Tip: Swap with Prosciutto
- 3 eggs, large
- 1 crisp pear, Anjou and Bartletts pears hold up well in heat
PREPARE YOUR MONTE CRISTOS
- On your work surface, layout 3 slices of bread and spread evenly with mustard. Layer on your cheese slices, ham and pear. Top with remaining 3 slices of bread.
- In a shallow, wide bowl, beat the eggs. Add a few drops of water to better disperse the eggs.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Be careful not to burn the butter. Tip: add a few drops of olive oil to butter if you are concerned about burning the butter.
- Dip sandwiches into egg mixture, both sides, careful to not lose your ingredients.
- Add sandwiches to hot skillet; working in batches if your skillet is too small to accommodate all 3 sandwiches. If working in batches, you may need to add more butter between batches. Partially cover and cook until golden brown for approximately 4 minutes.
- Carefully flip sandwiches and cook, partially covered, until golden brown for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove sandwiches to a cutting board and divide as desired. Serve hot.
To add a little wine country California to your home, try gathering with some friends and family and have a little pairing party. These Monte Cristo Sandwiches can be paired with rich white wines like Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Sonoma wineries tend to produce great white wines as their growing temperatures are a bit cooler lending wonderfully crisp white wine. Check out our directory of Sonoma wineries for some ideas.