A Monte Cristo served with Candied Figs

I’ve been reading a classic and it inspired me to create this sandwich-The Monte Cristo. Can you guess the title of the book?
Well, this hybrid croque-monsieur, (also known as the grilled cheese with ham) calls for butter-frying the white bread in an egg batter, similar to french toast; it is a decadent treat that pairs salty, savory with sweet. It is joined with jam or preserves and sometimes sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar! I opted for a candied fig garnish and no powdered sugar. If you love hot, satisfying sandwiches, this ones for you!

Voilà, a Monte Cristo

Voilà, a Monte Cristo


This recipe makes 3 sandwiches, adjust as needed.

For the sandwich:

  • 6 Slices of White Bread
  • 1/4 pound of roasted turkey, thin slices
  • 1/4 pound Honey Ham or Regular Ham, thin slices Slices
  • A wedge of Gruyère cheese

For the candied fig side garnish:

  • 4 figs
  • Several tablespoons of sugar
  • Triple Sec or orange juice

Batter:

  • 2-3 whole eggs

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 300 Farenheit or 150 Celsius
  • Gently cut figs into small wedges
  • Crack eggs into bowl and whisk to a blended consistency
  • Make the sandwich: Ham, Turkey and slices of cheese; Set aside next to batter.

Making the Candied Figs:

  • put several large tablespoons of sugar into a pan add a few splashes of water then set on stove top on medium temperature.
  • Caramelize the sugar.

    Sugar to Caramel

    Sugar to Caramel

  • Add figs and stir them around to get them evenly coated.
  • Add a few splashes of triple sec and reduce heat to low-medium heat.

    Caramelizing the Figs, Adding the Triple Sec

    Caramelizing the Figs, Adding the Triple Sec

  • Allow to reduce and thicken for a few minutes then remove the pan from heat.IMGP2318

Making the Monte Cristo

  • Heat a skillet on the stove at medium to high temperature, adding a liberal chunk of salted butter.
  • Dip the Sandwich whole into the batter, coating bottom and top slices of bread in egg.

    Yes, The Bread Goes Into Yolk!

    Yes, The Bread Goes Into Eggs!

  • When the skillet is hot and the butter is just beginning to brown, place the drenched sandwich into the skillet.

    Great Frying Cristo!

    Great Frying Cristo!

  • Fry each side for several minutes. Repeat for the remaining 2.
  • Remove sandwich from skillet and place on a middle rack in the oven for 5-7 minutes to get a nice crunchy and melty texture.

Serve the Monte Cristo as a Sandwich in two portions and dress the sides of the plate with the candied fig garnish. Don’t be a stranger to the figs; dip your Monte right into the sauce- it’s boss!

Fin!

Fin!

The Count of Monte Cristo, A Fried Sandwich and Hashish

The Monte Cristo, a fried and golden thing; glorious is its taste, this egg battered ham sandwich, this melty Gruyère cheese christened and jam preserve garnished trifle; tis’ savoury and sweet with richness that only by counting its calories can tell …Ah, bliss be the ambrosia sent from gleaming rays into our crackling frying pans!
Pardieu!
I was carried away- right into the kitchen again! Let me put down the whisk and the egg, place the ham hock back in the fridge and start afresh. (Though, I shall be returning to this sandwich in a later post!)
The Count of Monte Cristo, first published in 1844, by the author, Alexandre Dumas, a man-made famous for his daring and politics but also by the creation of the d’Artagnan romance novels, (Three Musketeers being the first) is a tail of tragedy and betrayal that turns into a plundering, romp of riches, extravagance and harrowing acts of honor and valour.
As I am not finished with this tomb of over 800 exciting pages, I cannot concluded a synopsis. Instead of this, I will give to you some exciting excerpts and quotes I’ve dredged up from these daring depths: Dumas supposed feelings and advocacies of the illicit recreational drug hashish, synthesized marijuana.
(Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo. Ware [England: Wordsworth Editions, 1997. Print.)

p.226 as spoken by the Count of Monte Cristo disguised under the appellation, Sinbad the Sailor:

“…-judge but do not confine yourself to one trial. Like everything else, we must habituate the sense to a fresh impression, gentle or violent, sad or joyous.”

“There is a struggle in nature against this divine substance- in nature which is not made for joy and clings to pain. Nature subdued must yield in the combat, this dream must succeed to reality, and then the dream reigns supreme, then the dream becomes life, and life becomes the dream. But what changes occur! It is only by comparing the pains of actual being with the joys of the assumed existence, that you would desire to live no longer, but to dream thus forever. When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world, you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter- to quit paradise for Earth- heaven for hell! Taste the hashish guest of mine- taste the hashish.”

“A grateful world to the dealer in happiness”

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

Part 2 to come! Till next time and adieu!

The Leberkäse

These are Leberkäse loaves.

These are Leberkäse loaves.

First let me tell you the taste and texture. It is tender and delicate owing somewhere between the creaminess of  a Pâté  and a slice of cold cut meat. It is best grilled as it brings out  a slightly smokey flavor. It is rich and filling and zesty with a dollop of yellow mustard. It sits well with a few glasses of  lager beer.

The Leberkäs as directly translated to English means ‘liver cheese’. I have heard it said that in some places in eastern Europe, they do indeed eat a liver cheese. This not what Bavarian Leberkäs is and in fact it is by law that such loaves hailing from Bavaria are not to contain over 4% of that organ. Now, what it is is a spiced loaf of pressed pork similar to what one would consider bologna. I forewarn you to leave aside your ideas of bologna: This is a quality food with far superior ingredients than standard, American lunch meats. With that in mind lets continue along.

To my American audience, do you remember 1776? Well indeed a historical day for you, it was too for the German free state of Bavaria; The Leberkäs was invented by an elector of Bavaria named Charles Theodore. Here is what I have been told by some local friends as an account towards its propagation: During Christian religious holidays such as Lent and Ash Wednesday when it was not permitted to eat meat, sick and infirmed people were given this loaf. Meat was considered a superior restorative. So as a means of disguising meat, a loaf was fashioned.(How you can trick the omnipotent, is beyond me) Well, this crafty meat loaf caught on after generations and soon it became incorporated in regular lunches; a grilled and thick slice between a baked roll dressed with a bit of mustard.

Did I miss something important? Let me know, lets share our knowledge.