Croque Monsieur-Style Monte Cristo Sammies with Figgy Salad

A crisp romaine, frisée and fig salad adds contrast to a rich sammie.


  • 2 tablespoons fig, blackberry or pomegranate preserves
  • 2 tablespoons grated shallot
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices good-quality white bread
  • 5 ounces Gruyère cheese, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 8 slices baked ham
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 heads frisée lettuce, chopped
  • 5 fresh figs, sliced


Pre-heat a griddle pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the preserves, shallot and vinegar. Whisk in the EVOO; season with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 1/3 cups milk and cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the mustard and turn off the heat.

Spread the sauce on one side of each bread slice. Top each of four of the bread slices with one cheese slice, two folded ham slices, another cheese slice and one of the remaining bread slices.

Beat the eggs with the remaining 2/3 cup milk and coat the sandwiches twice in the batter. Wipe the griddle with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter nestled in a paper towel, then add the sandwiches to the griddle and cook, turning once, until deep golden, about 8 minutes. Halve the sandwiches diagonally.

Add the romaine, frisée and figs to the dressing and toss. Serve with the sandwiches.

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