A monte cristo sandwich can be made in several ways but is essentially ham and cheese between two pieces of French toast. It is said to be a cousin of the croque-monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with extra cheese melted on top) and the croque-madame (a croque-monsieur with a fried egg on top–yum!).
My favorite monte cristo variation is when the edges are sealed off with egg so the sandwich looks like an incredibly thick piece of French toast (with the surprise of biting into the ham and cheese in the middle!). When I discovered I still had a fews slices of my favorite baguette in the pantry as well as leftover prosciutto and parmigiana cheese in my fridge the other day, I set about making mini monte cristos.
It was my first time making this savory sandwich, and it required a bit of experimentation. The first steps were simple: Dip each slice of bread in a whisked egg and fry on a hot pan then place the ham and cheese between the slices of what are now French toast. Here came the tricky part. I thought I could just dip the whole concoction into my bowl of whisked egg and toss it back on the frying pan (maybe roll the edges on the pan) and then I’d have an egg-sealed monte cristo. Not so.
The key was to consciously create the egg wrapping. To do this, I held the sandwich between a pair of chopsticks and used a spoon to pour a skinny, two-inch-long line of whisked egg on the pan. Next, I rolled the edge of the sandwich along the line of egg, making it stick to the sandwich as it cooked. (You want to do this quickly after you pour the egg onto the hot pan so that the egg is still wet when it makes contact with the bread.) I continued to add lines of egg to the pan and roll the edge of the sandwich along the lines until I had covered the entire circumference of the sammy.
And that was it. I put the two mini monte cristos I made on a plate and topped them with more parmigiana as well as salt and pepper. This method of sealing the sammy would work just as well with full-size pieces of bread, and might, in fact, be easier to do–especially if you are not chopstick inclined.