Let’s eat: French Toast Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Rich and salty, the open breakfast sandwich is an elegant play on the classic Monte Cristo, a variation of a French dish called Croque Monsieur that was first served in Parisian bars and cafes in the early 1900s. It’s everything you want in your first meal of the day — a marriage of sweet and salty under a creamy and nutty blanket of cheese.

I used honey mustard instead of Dijon because that’s what I had in the fridge. If you can’t find Gruyere, Swiss cheese is a fine substitute.

French Toast Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

3 large eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon sugar

Pinch each of salt and grated cinnamon

Butter for the pan

4 thick slices brioche

Dijon mustard

12 very thin ham slices

1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese

Raspberry or strawberry jam for dipping

Make French toast: In a medium shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, salt and cinnamon.

In nonstick skillet set over medium heat, melt enough butter just to coat the bottom of pan. Dip a slice of brioche into egg mixture and let it rest for about 15 seconds on each side before transferring it to hot pan. Cook for about two minutes per side until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with remaining bread slices.

Preheat broiler.

Spread each slice of warm French toast with as much Dijon mustard as you’d like. Top each piece with three pieces of ham and sprinkle with Gruyere. Place on baking sheet.

Broil for about two minutes until ham is toasted and cheese is bubbling and melted. Keep an eye on the sandwiches as they can quickly burn.

Serve warm with jam on the side for dipping.

Serves 4.

— Adapted from “Joy the Baker Over Easy” by Joy Wilson (Clarkson Potter, March 2017, $27.50)

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