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Monte Cristo Sandwich
From Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book, by Nancy Silverton

I wrote this recipe for the generation that didn't grow up eating this fifties classic. Believe it or not, turkey, ham, cheese, and strawberry jam is not as awful as it sounds. Once you try it, you'll choose this deep fried retro combo as your special-occasion sandwich, too. Pile the crispy wedges onto a platter, dust with powdered sugar, and watch to see who fights over the last piece.


For the Batter:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup club soda
1-1/2 cups dark beer

For the Sandwiches:

6 slices white or whole-wheat sourdough bread, each buttered on one side
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, sliced into 18 1/16-inch-thick slices
8 ounces smoked ham, such as Black Forest, sliced into 9 1/16-inch-thick slices
8 ounces roast turkey, sliced into 9 1/16-inch-thick slices
5 tablespoons strawberry jam, plus extra to serve on the side
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1/2 cup powdered sugar


To make the Batter: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne, and salt. Whisk in the club soda and beer. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter. Refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

To assemble the Sandwiches: Set half of the slices buttered side down, and cover with the cheese slices, folding them over if they extend past the edges. Layer the ham and turkey over the cheese, and spread the jam over the turkey. Place the top slice of bread on, buttered side up.

Grill the sandwiches on both sides.

Pour the oil into a deep heavy-duty saucepan to fill it halfway. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C), measuring the temperature on a deep-fat thermometer.

Cut the sandwiches on a diagonal into thirds, to make 9 triangular pieces.

Stir the batter. Dip each sandwich piece into the batter, thoroughly coating it. Fry the pieces 2 or 3 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd them in the pan. Cook them for about 3 minutes on each side, until they're nicely browned, and transfer to a paper towel to drain. Allow the oil to come back up to temperature before you fry the next batch of sandwiches.

Place the sandwiches on a platter. Sift a very heavy layer of powdered sugar over them, and serve with a side of jam.

Yield: 9 pieces


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