What’s cooking today: Monte Cristo sandwich

Tony Jackman’s Monte Cristo sandwich on a brown pan plate by Mervyn Gers. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

A Monte Cristo sandwich is a bit of a hybrid, a coalition of sorts. A quick, filling snack to make when you get back from voting, or just before you go, to take with you.

The Monte Cristo sandwich was born in a Parisian café in 1920. It’s what you get when you cross a Croque Monsieur with French toast. Triple decker, and decidedly moreish. You might want two.

A Croque Monsieur is made from store-bought white bread layered with cheese (usually Swiss Gruyère but you could use Cheddar or Mozzarella) and ham, with a spreading of mustard in most cases, and fried in butter. French toast is slices of bread dipped in egg and fried.

For a Monte Cristo, you make a ham and cheese sandwich using three slices of bread, dip it in beaten egg, and fry it on both sides. In my version, I used mustard as well.

Ingredients (per 1 sandwich)

3 thin slices of white bread


4 slices of gypsy ham

Grated Cheddar, Gruyère or Mozzarella cheese

Dijon mustard

Salt and black pepper


2 eggs, beaten

Clarified butter


Butter one side each of three slices of bread, and spread mustard on.

Sprinkle grated cheese on one and top with a slice of ham.

Top the ham with more grated cheese and place a second slice of buttered bread on top. Butter the top side and spread mustard on.

Add another layer of grated cheese, then more ham, and more grated cheese.

Place the third slice of bread on top.

Push down with your palm.

Beat the eggs in a flat plastic bakkie. Season with salt and pepper.

Dip the sandwich in the egg by holding it with both hands, then flip it carefully and dip the other side. Roll it from side to side so that the bread soaks up as much of the egg as it can.

Melt clarified butter in a frying pan and fry on both sides until golden and crisp. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer of the Year 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is now available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.

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Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.


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