Grilled-cheese Monte Cristo came to mind when I picked and weighed in the last few good-looking heirloom tomatoes I gathered from my garden. Add a worthy spread of sweet, home-made tomato-strawberry jam between two slices of bread (such as Challah or egg bread), add a layer or two of ham and tender turkey, and then grill in butter to a delicious golden. Finish this delectable sandwich with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
Yum! Double yum!!
Talk about indulging your taste-buds and in one bite having your salt n’ sweet together.... Drool! This is an explosion of flavors in one mouthful; a must-try experience. Your taste-buds will do a Happy Dance.
When very dear old friends from Seattle, Washington dropped in for a visit, friends that have sampled over the years so many of our delectable home creations, what could I possibly give them that is new under the moon and sun? Why, this grilled-cheese Monte Cristo sandwich, smeared with a worthy spread of jam made with homegrown heirloom tomatoes and the sweetest strawberries I could get my hands on at the market, that’s what!
Come; take a comfortable seat at our cozy table. Dinner is served!
This jam recipe makes about 6 cups after cooking.
Sandwich recipe is for 2 hearty sandwiches.
STEPS 1 (making jam):
2½ pounds fresh [ripe but firm and meaty] tomatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks (do not seed tomatoes, they add character)
2½ pounds fresh [ripe] strawberries, husked and cut in half
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
Zest of 1 lemon
Peel from 1 orange, cut into thin strips
Juice from 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup tawny port wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
Into a large and deep heavy-bottomed pot add all ingredients and bring to a quick boil.
Reduce heat but keep an obvious simmer going (a light boil), and cook (stirring once-in-a-while to keep from burning/sticking) for about 2½ hours, more or less as needed, until it is thick and just begins to gather (makes a path when stirred). Turn off heat, take off the burner, and allow the jam to cool completely before putting away.
Jam will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for 3-4 weeks (and sometimes longer).
Note: If you are into canning, follow your preferred instructions for this method.
STEPS 2 (putting sandwiches together):
4 slices egg-bread (Challah or egg bread)
4 [thin] turkey slices
4 [thin] ham slices
2 slices Swiss cheese (we used Jarlsberg)
2 slices Muenster cheese
2 [thin] slices creamy Havarti cheese
Prepared tomato strawberry jam
Butter (about 1½ teaspoons of butter per side of bread)
Powdered sugar, sifted
Ground cinnamon (optional)
Chocolate powder (optional)
- Spread mustard on two slices of bread
- Begin layering each slice of bread with: 1 Swiss cheese, 2 ham slices, 1 Muenster slice, 2 turkey slices, 1 Havarti slice
- Spread [already prepared] tomato strawberry jam on the 2 remaining bread slices and close sandwich
- Carefully and generously butter one side of each sandwich. Place buttered side down on a heated skillet (heated on medium-low) and slowly cook to a light crispy golden-brown
- While you wait for the first side to brown, generously butter the other side of bread that is up
- Very carefully flip the sandwich and cook the other side to a crispy golden-brown to match the first side, and making sure the cheeses have melted
- Take off the griddle and sprinkle desired amount of powdered sugar and cinnamon and/or unsweetened cocoa powder
Serve these sandwiches immediately, and enjoy! I know that our friends of over 30 years, Steve and Libby, enjoyed them, and did manage to eat every bite, even cleaning-up every crumb. These kinds of friends, good eaters, appreciative of great food, are keepers for life!
Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!