I'm not much of a Monte Cristo fan. The classic sandwich straddles breakfast and lunch by placing ham, turkey, and cheese between two slices of French toast. The entire thing is topped with powdered sugar and jam resulting in a dish that to me, is messy and too sweet.

However, when I came across this Serrano ham and manchego cheese variation, my love for all things Spanish overcame me, and I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, this sandwich is wonderful!

The quince paste isn't as cloying as strawberry preserves and the addition of mustard provides a delightfully savory tang. Although the bread is dipped in egg before being placed in the saute pan, it tastes more like a really crispy grilled ham and cheese than French toast. To check out the recipe, read more.

Spanish Ham and Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Spanish Ham and Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Spanish Ham and Manchego Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe 2009-10-07 13:11:01

Ingredients

8 1/2-inch-thick slices sourdough or country-style French bread (each about 5 x 3 inches)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 ounces Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
2 ounces thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto
4 tablespoons membrillo (quince paste) or quince preserves
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

Directions

  1. Arrange 4 bread slices on work surface. Spread each with 1/2 tablespoon mustard. Top each with 1/4 of cheese, then 1/4 of ham, folding to fit.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon quince paste on each of remaining 4 bread slices; place bread, paste side down, atop ham.
  3. Beat eggs in pie dish until well blended.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 large skillets over medium-low heat.
  5. Working with 1 sandwich at a time, hold sandwiches tightly closed and dip into beaten eggs to coat on all sides. Place 2 sandwiches in each skillet.
  6. Cover and cook until bottoms are golden, about 4 minutes. Turn sandwiches over. Cover and cook until bottoms are golden, cheese is melted, and egg coating is cooked through, about 4 minutes longer.

Serves 4.