When another editor at RS told me she had recently tried frozen French toast and actually liked it, I was determined to come up with a recipe that put its egg-y coating to use. Monte Cristos are usually dipped in egg before they're grilled. This recipe eliminates that step. -- Kate Merker, Associate Food Editor, Real Simple
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This ham, turkey, and cheese sandwich would be rich and decadent even if the bread wasn't dipped in egg and fried in butter. Food historians agree that the Monte Cristo descended from the croque monsieur, the French-bistro standard that's essentially the same sandwich minus the turkey. But no one seems sure how or even if it relates to The Count of Monte Cristo, the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas pere. This simplified Monte Cristo takes one major shortcut: It uses frozen French toast, eliminating the egg-dipping step. But it's no less luxurious -- definitely fit for a count, whether or not it was named for one.
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 6-count boxes frozen French toast
1 9-ounce package thinly sliced ham
1 9-ounce package thinly sliced turkey
12 slices Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Step 1: Prepare
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the mustard on 6 pieces of the French toast and divide the ham and turkey evenly among the 6 pieces.
Step 2: Top, Spread
Top each with 2 slices of the cheese. Spread the remaining pieces of French toast with the mayonnaise (if using) and sandwich together.
Step 3: Spread, Cook
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of the butter on the top and bottom of each sandwich. Cook 3 sandwiches in the skillet until brown, 2 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
Step 4: Bake
Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is melted and the toast is heated through, about 4 minutes.
Step 5: Serve
Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half before serving.