Pilar Valdes' Ham, Fruit & Cheese Sandwich
This take on a Monte Cristo Sandwich is a fun way to incorporate the pro tip from Chef Chad Williams of Friday, Saturday, Sunday in Philadelphia. Typically, the monte cristo is a ham, (turkey) and swiss cheese sandwich that’s battered like French toast, pan-fried and served with jelly and powdered sugar. In this updated version, we are nixing the powdered sugar and jelly, and stuffing the sandwich with the grilled fruit - ala Chef Chad- for that sweet, smoky, savory element. You can definitely eat this Friday, Saturday, Sunday for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Ham, Fruit & Cheese Sandwich
- 8 Oz Grilled Fruit Cooled and cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 Slices Brioche Loaf Bread Cut into 1" thick slices
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter Softened, divided
- 1 Tbsp Coleman's Yellow Mustard
- 8 Slices Thinly Sliced Swiss Cheese
- 6 Slices Thinly Sliced Uncured Ham
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Tbsp Neutral Oil Such as canola, vegetable or avocado
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Lb Mixed Fruit I personally love a mix of blackberries, figs and peaches - trimmed, stemmed, pitted and cut into half; choose fruit that is ripe but not too soft
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar or Sherry Vinegar Per 6 ounces of fruit
- Flaky Sea Salt Such as Maldon
- Black Pepper
Using 1 tablespoon of butter, butter 1 side of each of the slices of bread. Set aside two buttered slices; those will be the tops of your sandwich. Divide the mustard between two bottom slices and spread evenly, edge to edge. Place two slices of cheese on each slice. Divide the grilled fruit and all its juices and place on top of the cheese. Lay three slices of ham on each slice. Finish with 2 slices of swiss cheese on each slice and close with the top slice. (Optional step: Press your sandwiches with a weight for 10-15 minutes before cooking. A cast iron skillet works great!)
Whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. I like to use a shallow pan for this. Lay your assembled sandwich down in the custard, about 15 seconds per side, then gently flip. Transfer to a wire rack until ready to cook. Place a skillet, large enough to hold both sandwiches, over medium heat. Add the oil and the remaining butter to the pan. When the butter is melted and foaming, but not browned, it’s ready to go. Carefully transfer the sandwiches to the pan and fry them until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, cut on the diagonal (I’m a cut into quarters gal!) and serve. Enjoy while warm.
GRILLED FRUIT INSTRUCTIONS
You can do this on a grill outdoors, or a grillpan indoors, or even just a cast iron skillet on the stove top will work nicely. Heat on medium/ medium high.
In a bowl, add your fruit. Drizzle a touch of olive oil on the fruit and toss to coat. Lay the fruit on the pan (cut side down, where applicable, like with the peaches and figs). Allow to cook and caramelize, do not move. You will start to smell the sugars and the juices may bubble slightly where the fruit makes contact with the pan. You are aiming for a gooey surface, with a semi-firm top end - for maximum texture and flavor. Each fruit will cook at a different rate: for example, figs will be ready in about 3 minutes; larger stone fruit will take closer to 8. Keep an eye on them and prod them occasionally to gauge their doneness :-)
Transfer the cooked fruit back to the bowl. While still warm, season immediately with flaky salt, freshly ground pepper, and vinegar. Toss to coat.