Saturday, November 13, 2010

Monte Cristo with Kalamata Olive Tomato Salad

     The diner style Monte Cristo sandwich is still one of the best sandwiches there is!  I hardly ever see a Monte Cristo on fancy restaurant lunch menus anymore, but diner style restaurants still offer this sandwich.
     Many cooks at second rate diner style restaurants made awful Monte Cristo sandwiches on dirty greasy grills and they contributed to the decline of the Monte Cristo's popularity.  Many chefs looked upon the Monte Cristo as a sandwich that was too much of a mess to make.  Many lazy bum kitchen managers banned both the club sandwich and the Monte Cristo from their menus, because they viewed those sandwiches as being difficult and time consuming to make.  Imagine a customer requesting a Monte Cristo at a diner and some two bit kitchen manager tells that customer that the restaurant has some kind of an anti Monte Cristo policy!  In the old days, that would be unheard of.  I have seen it happen in today's age.  
     I have said this next statement many times.  "Some restaurants deserve to go out of business!"  Never shoot yourself in the foot!  A restaurant is in both the hospitality and entertainment business.  If a customer makes a request within reason, the he must be accommodated!  Fulfilling customer requests leads to more business opportunities. 
     Relatively few chefs make modern cutting edge Monte Cristo style sandwiches these days  I will post some modern creative gourmet Monte Cristo recipe in this blog sometime in the future.  The traditional plain diner style version of a Monte Cristo naturally comes first!  Diner style Monte Cristo sandwiches are made with turkey and ham.  The original Monte Cristo was made with only ham.  A diner Monte Cristo almost never is served with preserves or jam and it is rarely coated with powdered sugar.  A traditional Monte Cristo is served with both those items.  Diner style Monte Cristo sandwiches are dipped in egg wash and grilled, just like a traditional Monte Cristo.
     Monte Cristo Recipe:
     This is the diner style way of making a Monte Cristo!
     Cut two large slices of French round loaf bread.
     Place a few thin slices of swiss cheese on one slice of bread.
     Place about 2 to 3 ounces of thin sliced roasted turkey breast on the cheese.
     Place 2 to 3 ounces of thin sliced ham on the turkey.
     Place a few thin slices of swiss cheese on the ham.
     Place the second slice of bread on the sandwich.
     Whisk 2 eggs and place the whisked eggs in a shallow pan.
     Heat a seasoned saute pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat.
     Place 3 to 4 pats of butter on the pan.
     Dip both side of the sandwich in the egg wash.
     Place sandwich in the hot butter in the pan.
     When the bottom half of the sandwich becomes a golden color, flip the sandwich over.  
     Place the pan in a 350 degree oven.  (For the griddle method, place the sandwich on a buttered pie tin, then place it in the oven.)
     Bake the sandwich, till the egg wash coating becomes a golden brown color and the meats become hot.
     Place the sandwich on a cutting board.
     Slice the sandwich in half.
     Place the Monte Cristo on a plate.
     A sprinkle of powdered sugar on the sandwich is optional for a diner style Monte Cristo.  Jam or preserves are rarely served with a diner style Monte Cristo!

     Kalamata Olive Tomato Salad:  
     Place 1 handful of chopped romaine lettuce in a mixing bowl.
     Add a little bit of sliced onion.
     Add 1 plum tomato that is cut into small wedges.
     Add about 6 to 8 pitted kalamata olives.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 2 teaspoons of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. 
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Place the salad on the Monte Cristo plate as an accompaniment.
     A simple diner style Monte Cristo is so simply yummy, that it is hard to stop eating it once you start.  A quick vinegar and oil tossed salad is another item that seems to be lost in the past.  Most chefs mix a vinaegrette dressing ahead of time instead.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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