We’ve heard of toasted and grilled sandwiches. In the case of the monte cristo and the croque monsieur, fried sandwiches are in vogue. Each sandwich is complete by itself — filling, spread and bread. What makes it difference however is the way it is cooked. It’s deep-fried so that the outer layer is crisp and would then yield to a meaty and creamy interior. Perhaps that layer of crisp makes the fried sandwich simply irresistible.
Perhaps the most popular type of fried sandwich is the Monte Cristo, which is basically a ham, chicken or turkey and cheese sandwich that’s been dipped in beaten egg (and sometimes, milk) then deep-fried. Think of it as a savory French toast with a twist. You can use Emmentaler or Gruyere cheese. It’s traditionally served with a red currant jelly to help cut through the richness of this fried sandwich.
The Monte Cristo was inspired by the French sandwich called the Croque Monsieur. The Nibble Magazine defines it as a “grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped into beaten egg then sautéed in butter.” The Wikipedia describes it more as a hot sandwich that’s been cooked on the grill. It is also sometimes served with a béchamel or mornay sauce. A typical recipe calls for toasting the bread first before the filling with mustard, ham and cheese. It is then broiled before adding the top toasted bread.
Taking inspiration from the Monte Cristo and Croque Monsieur would help you create your own variation of this fried sandwich. Another example of this type of sandwich is deep fried mozzarella (Mozzarella in Carozza), basically a small sandwich of mozzarella cheese that’s been dipped in a batter and then deep fried. It comes off the pan golden brown, with the usual gooey, melting cheese in the middle.