Tis the season to make merry and celebrate the past year and toast to welcome the new one. Whether at home with the family, or out and about with your people, one thing is for sure… New Year’s Day morn is usually one we like to ease in slowly in our jammies with something really good to eat.
The Monte Cristo, a version of the original French croque monsieur, is a bit savory married with a tad of sweet. Appearing in American cookbooks around the 1930’s, history tells us it really made its debut on the culinary scene when one of California Disney’s restaurants featured on their menu.
Traditionally, this egg battered ham and cheese sandwich is fried crispy and served with preserves for dipping, most often that seems to be raspberry. You can definitely make ours with a plain bread and preserves, but when we came upon some delicious looking cinnamon apple bread, that seemed to be a delicious choice, and it is! We think any sort of bread with fruit in it would be nice… and pairs well with the light saltiness of Rays Country Ham slices. And a mimosa as well.
No matter how you make it, our country ham will please you and your company the morning after… be it after ringing in a new year, or anytime. Or heck, throw it in the oven as you’re counting down to midnight to have ready to enjoy at midnight for a just-before-bed comforting meal.
Makes 6-8 servings
12-ounce package Rays Country Ham slices
1 loaf bread of choice (about 16 slices)
we used an apple cinnamon bread but any other fruited or white bread will work
about 1/2 cup mustard (we used coarse grain swirled with a bit of honey)
8 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
1 pint jar good Apple Butter (or preserves)
2 cups milk
7 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
powdered sugar for dusting
parsley, chive or sage for garnish
Prepare ham by soaking for 30 minutes in cool water.
Put about ¼” of water in skillet and bring to slow simmer. Cook ham slices for 1-2 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
To make sandwiches:
Lay out 8 slices of bread.
Spread each generously with mustard. Top with torn pieces of ham and Swiss cheese. Spread apple butter on 8 slices of bread and place on top of the others ham and cheese.
Cut into halves or quarters diagonally and place, cut sides up, in large (13”x9”) baking dish. Squish halves together as needed to fit into dish.
Combine milk with egg and seasonings. Pour evenly over sandwiches. Cover with foil and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Remove cover and bake 30-40 minutes making sure eggs have “set.” Watch closely and when bread tips are browned, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning until finished baking. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
Dust with powdered sugar and snipped chives or parsley. Offer with remaining apple butter for dipping.