Monte Cristo Party Bites with Raspberry-Malbec Jam - The classic diner sandwich dressed up as a fancy appetizer! Griddled sandwiches filled with ham, turkey and fontina cheese, with a side of homemade jam for dipping! | foxeslovelemons.com

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.

Monte Cristo Party Bites with Raspberry-Malbec Jam - The classic diner sandwich dressed up as a fancy appetizer! Griddled sandwiches filled with ham, turkey and fontina cheese, with a side of homemade jam for dipping! | foxeslovelemons.com

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 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.

Monte Cristo Party Bites with Raspberry-Malbec Jam - The classic diner sandwich dressed up as a fancy appetizer! Griddled sandwiches filled with ham, turkey and fontina cheese, with a side of homemade jam for dipping! | foxeslovelemons.com

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.

Monte Cristo Party Bites with Raspberry-Malbec Jam - The classic diner sandwich dressed up as a fancy appetizer! Griddled sandwiches filled with ham, turkey and fontina cheese, with a side of homemade jam for dipping! | foxeslovelemons.com

Monte Cristo Party Bites with Raspberry-Malbec Jam

Yield: Makes 8 sandwich bites (or 2 full size sandwiches)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Raspberry-Malbec Jam:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons malbec or other red wine

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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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