Have you ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich? While some of my college roommates loved them, at the time, they sort of horrified me. There’s a few different versions with subtle variations, but here’s the gist: it’s a ham (or sometimes ham and turkey) sandwich with cheese (and maybe mustard and/or mayo). The whole thing is either dipped in batter and deep fried, or dipped in egg wash and griddled like French toast. It’s sometimes sprinkled with powdered sugar (which I think is where things fell off the rails for me), and it’s always served with a side of jam. The whole thing is a study in sweet, savory and decadent.
Back then, I hadn’t yet developed my love for the marriage of sweet and savory. But my taste buds have changed so much since then that I figured it was time to give the Monte Cristo another try, the Lori way. I would NOT be deep frying it, or sprinkling it with powdered sugar. But I would be keeping many of the original flavors, and making small sandwich party bites. Oh, and since I’m a real grown-up now, I would get a little daring by pairing these bites with a nice bottle of Alamos Malbec. And I’d put some of that wine in the homemade jam too, for good measure.
For my version, I used challah (egg) bread, and cut the crusts off to be all fancy. I spread each slice with spicy Dijon mustard, then piled on sliced ham, turkey and Fontina cheese. This is where things get a little messy: I dunked the entire sandwich into a bowl of whisked eggs and then threw it on the griddle. The griddling gave the bread a French toast-like effect, while warming the fixings inside. I cut the sandwiches into quarters, and boom – I had a cute little party bite that just shouted “fun”!
Before I got started on the sandwiches, however, I made the pièce de résistance: a quick, three-ingredient Raspberry-Malbec stovetop jam. Malbec is, by far, my favorite variety of red wine. It’s actually the variety that made me start loving red wine in general. Alamos Malbec is grown at the foothills of the Andes, using grapes that combine bold flavors and natural acidity for a versatile wine that you can dare to pair with a vast array of holiday dishes. For more daring pairing recipes and inspiration, visit Alamos Wines on Facebook.
For the Raspberry-Malbec Jam:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Alamos Malbec
For the Monte Cristo Party Bites:
- 2 eggs
- 4 slices Challah bread (crusts removed, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 ounces sliced deli ham
- 3 ounces sliced deli turkey
- 2 ounces sliced Fontina cheese
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Make the Raspberry-Malbec Jam: In medium saucepan, stir together raspberries, sugar and wine. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce head to medium; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened to an almost jam-like consistency (mixture will continue to thicken as it cools). Serve slightly warm or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. Makes about 3/4 cup jam.
- Make the Monte Cristo Party Bites: Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. In wide, shallow bowl, whisk eggs until well beaten. Place bread on work surface; spread each slice with mustard. Build sandwiches by layering two bread slices with ham, turkey, cheese, and remaining bread.
- Lightly spray griddle with cooking spray. Gently press sandwiches; dip all sides in egg, letting excess egg drip off. Place sandwiches on griddle; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until bread is golden brown and fillings are warm, gently flipping halfway through cook time. Transfer sandwiches to cutting board; cut each sandwich into quarters and serve with Raspberry-Malbec Jam.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Alamos Wines, in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY. Sponsored posts help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography. All opinions are 100% my own.