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Monte Cristo Panini

Have you ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich?

If – like me – you are a proponent die-hard fan of sweet & savory flavor combinations, then you will love this sandwich!

The traditional sandwich is basically an egg-battered fried ham & cheese sandwich, often served with some type of jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Think a french toast/ham & cheese hybrid with a fruity sweet kick.

It works, trust me.

The inspiration for this recipe was twofold: (1) we had a bunch of leftovers from the baked ham I made last weekend for Easter dinner with my in-laws (my first hosted holiday meal!), and (2) today is the last day of April – which is apparently national grilled cheese month.

Sure, I waited until the last minute to post a [pseudo] grilled cheese recipe… but better late than never, right?

Gruyere would have been a more traditional cheese for this sandwich, but all we had on hand was low-moisture part-skim mozzarella. I bet sharp cheddar would also be delicious.

As for the jam, I used my all-time favorite St. Dalfour red raspberry preserves (linked below). All-fruit strawberry or blackberry preserves would both be fantastic substitutes.

I omitted the eggy batter, and opted instead for a touch of butter slathered onto the outside of the sandwich in order to achieve a crisp golden-brown crust.

Peekaboo!

Ah, there she is in her golden glory.

This panino was incredibly tasty!

The mellow mozzarella cheese melted beautifully, and the naturally sweet raspberry preserves deliciously complimented the tender ham.

I loved every single bite of this beauty, and it definitely satisfied my sweet/savory craving.

Monte Cristo Panini

Printer-Friendly Recipe

serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • good melting cheese, such as gruyere or low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, sliced
  • thickly sliced baked ham
  • all-fruit raspberry (or other fruit) preserves, such as St. Dalfour
  • butter or non-hydrogenated margarine

Directions:

  1. Preheat a panini press or heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Lay out the 4 slices of bread. Top two slices each with the sliced cheese, followed by the sliced ham. Spread fruit preserves onto the remaining two slices of bread; sandwich together.
  3. Smear a bit of butter onto both sides of each sandwich. Place assembled sandwiches into the panini press or into the skillet. If using a press, cook until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown and crisp. If using a skillet, place another heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches. Cook until the bottom of each sandwich is golden brown and crisp, flip, and repeat until the cheese has melted.
  4. Serve immediately.
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