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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Something more than simple sandwich

I am often told by my wife Peggy that sometimes, rightfully so, that I tend to make dinner complicated. There are times she says that she would just like a sandwich. As someone to whom cooking is a passion, that’s very often not in my menu planning. It does, however, give me room for thought.

Today I am sharing with you two sandwiches that are a little more than just bread, meat, cheese and a spread. The first one is a very classic French sandwich, Croque-Madame. The second one is a guilty pleasure of mine, Monte Cristo. So grab your bread, take the meat out of the refrigerator, and Let’s head to the kitchen!


Here is a twist on a traditional Croque-Madame. I have left out the inclusion of Béchamel sauce (white sauce). I find that it takes away from the richness of the egg, when it not fried too hard. The egg yolk replaces the need for the sauce.

For each sandwich

Softened butter

2 pieces sliced thick firm sandwich bread

Sliced Gruyère cheese

Top-quality mustard (for a twist, use Creole mustard)

2 ounces sliced smoked ham

1 egg, fried in a little butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper

Place a small heavy skillet over medium heat; preheat broiler

Butter one side of a piece of bread; cover the other side with cheese and place under the broiler until cheese is melted. Top melted cheese with ham. Butter 1 slice of the other piece of bread with remaining butter; spread the other side with mustard and place mustard-side down, atop ham. Transfer to hot skillet and grill, watching carefully, until bread is browned, flip and grill other side. Top with fried egg and serve at once.

Monte Cristo

Most people in their mid-thirties and older remember Bennigan’s. This sandwich was the only reason I would go eat there. Since there are only a few restaurants still open, here a recreation of this famous sandwich.

For each sandwich

3 slices whole wheat bread

3 slices deli turkey

3 sliced smoked ham

3 slices Swiss cheese

3 slices American cheese

Powdered sugar

Raspberry jam

For the batter

1 egg

1 1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

Canola oil for frying

For Sandwich

Place the turkey and Swiss cheese on one slice of bread and the ham and American cheese on another slice of bread. Place the third slice of bread in between the meats and secure the corners of the triple decker sandwich with toothpicks.

For the Batter

Place the egg in a mixing bowl, add the water, and beat together. Add the salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. Beat the batter until smooth.

For Assembly

Heat a deep fryer to 350℉.

Dip the sandwich in the batter and carefully cover all sides. Carefully place the sandwich in the hot oil and fry until golden. When the sandwich has turned a warm gold color, remove it from the fryer and place it on paper towels. Let the sandwich cool for a few minutes before removing the toothpicks. Before serving, slice the sandwich into fourths and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with raspberry jelly.

I know that these are not the sandwiches my wife is speaking about. I figure that there’s nothing wrong with some warm sandwiches that takes a few steps to create. When getting ready to prepare these sandwiches, remember that the recipe is for a single sandwich. You will have to adjust accordingly to the number of people you are feeding. Don’t forget to serve with some nice homemade potato chips. That recipe is for another day!

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