Now Cooking on Bike Tour - Pedal Inn's Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe

NOW COOKIN' ON BIKE TOUR: Pedal Inn's Monte Cristo Sandwich Recipe

A classic, redefined for the outdoors, and soon to become Royalty in your camp cooking deck of cards.

Our goal with this new feature is to share the very best recipes and give an insiders peek at what we've been cooking on tour lately.  Really getting hungry just typing this...

We often get asked, what's your favorite recipe to make while bike camping? And, that's always a tough one - we never know what to say- since there are so many delicious possibilities.   Since kicking off as a bike camping cookbook project a few years back (how the time flies), we've developed so many recipes and techniques for camp cooking that it's hard to choose just ONE.   But this post may just lead us to our go-to answer!

 For us there is probably no single category of camp cooking which has so much depth, flavor, and possibly as the sandwich.  Endless variety, straightforward techniques, and an always satisfying meal.  What we love is rediscovering classic sandwiches and making them our own, Pedal Inn-style.  In our world, the Monte Cristo is king.

What makes the Cristo, sandwich royalty? For starts it's the perfect breakfast, lunch, and dinner vehicle with layers of delicious elements, sweet, savory, crisp, soft, and melty.  It's uncompromising but delivers something for everybody.   It has a depth of texture and flavor found in your best food memories. 

The version we love to make rids itself of all the unsavory greasy spoon elements, like deep frying and mayo to name two, that sometimes give this gold-standard classic's take on ham and cheese a bad name. We've also been loving a vegan version whose recipe is included below.  There are lot of possibilities for variation and using fresh, high quality ingredients (as with any cooking) really makes this camp sando shine.  In the spirit of camping itself, this one is a treat for senses, stomach, ad soul.


FIRESIDE MONTECRISTO SANDWICH RECIPE  

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • Loaf of freshbaked white bread such as firm sourdough, boule, or challah, cut into 3/4" (1.25cm) slices sized to fit in your fry pan
  • 2oz (60ml) Maple Syrup (organic grade "b" has the best flavor and consistency)
  • 1T (15g) Coconut Oil
  • 1T (15g) Powdered sugar
  • Basket of organic raspberries or quality raspberry preserves (for a splurge try local Blue Chair or INNA Jam
  • 2/3lb (300g) Thin-sliced Black Forest Ham or your favorite humanely-raised ,sweetish-smoked ham or turkey cut into 1" strips
  • 2 organic eggs (for the best eggs you've ever had try Rainbow eggs from Red Hill Farms)
  • 1/3lb (150g) Raclette or Gruyere or other stinky, aged, readily melting Swiss-style cheese, cut into small, thin sliced 1"x 1/2" (2.5 x 1.2cm) rectangles  
  • 1T (15g) Whole grain mustard
  • 2 oz (60ml 1/2 n 1/2) - optional, but use it if you have it along for coffee.

TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

  • Fry pan
  • Sauce pan (approximately 1 qt)
  • plate for dipping bread into egg mixture
  • stirrer
  • 2 stoves or stove/campfire combo.  We swear by Trangia stoves/cookware.
  • Aluminum foil

VEGAN VARIATION

  • Sub sliced ham for your fav vegan deli slices (Tofurkey works well here)
  • Sub cheese for your fav vegan cheese (we like Field Roast's Chao slices)
  • Omit powdered sugar or be sure sugar does not use bone-char processing
  • Omit 1/2 n 1/2 

GLUTEN-FREE VARIATION

  • Sub GF bread (try SF's own Bread SRSLY-- the best GF bread in the world)
  • Check meat/vegan slices for wheat and sub as necessary

TECHNIQUE AND PREPARATION

  1. With coffee already made, have all ingredients prepped as above and laid out on the table. 
  2. Crack eggs into plate and add some syrup and milk.  Whisk lightly.
  3. Heat fry pan over medium heat then add ~ 1 tsp coconut oil.  
  4. Dip first sandwich's bread (or as much bread as will fit in your pan) in the egg mixture, count to three, flip and dip other side.  Mixture should soak in but not saturate bread.
  5. Add bread to fry pan.  Check each slice after about 1 minute.  Continue cooking each side until crisp and golden brown, about 2 1/2 (your cook time will vary).  Add a bit more oil and swirl around before adding each new round of bread.
  6. Remove bread and cover partially with aluminum foil on your cutting board. Don't stack or cover completely or bread will get soft from steam vapor.
  7. Meanwhile prepare second pan, again medium heat, and add 1t coconut after pan heats.  
  8. Add meat/vegan slices (cut into strips) to pan.  Stir so all parts get heated and juices start to release from slices (about 1 minute)  then add cheese.  Cover.  Cook until cheese is melted and slices begin to brown (about 4 minutes).
  9. Start assembling sandwiches as soon as protein mix is melty.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Lay out golden brown "Frenched" toast on cutting board.  
  2. On one slice spread thinly with mustard (to taste) and then top with fresh raspberries/preserves and syrup.  Add a pinch of salt (to taste) if using a less salty cheese/meat/vegan mix.  Smash fresh raspberries to release juice and full flavor. 
  3. On other slice top with melty protein bliss.
  4. Spoon on some pan juices
  5. Join your MC together.  Slice creatively.
  6. Top with some more syrup, a light dusting of powdered sugar, and a side of berries/preserves/mustard
  7. Serve immediately.  Repeat until everything is hedonistically eaten.

COOKING NOTES

When cooking keep a close eye on yer pans-- camp cookware is thin and conductive-- so it will burn food much easier.  If you see any hint of smoke remove from flame immediately.  Better yet enlist a "sous chef" to help you with prep and be a second set of eyes.  When stirring posts, we find it is easier to take them off stove for better control and to see how things are coming along.