Growing up in Southern California, I had more than my fair share of visits to Disneyland. While all of my Disney memories are happy (how could they not be?), few involve food.
Back then, Disney food was, as is true of most amusement parks today, overpriced and underwhelming, with one exception: the Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou.
The Blue Bayou, located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, is the most magical, and perhaps expensive, place to eat in the entire Disney kingdom and when I was a kid, it was always an extra special treat. Talk about location, location, location. Diners enjoy their jambalaya and gumbo "outdoors" in the perpetual twilight of the ride, surrounded by twinkling fireflies and Caribbean waters.
Most of the food seemed too "grown-up" for me at the time, except for the Monte Cristo, a simple ham, turkey and Swiss sandwich that's battered, fried, dusted in powdered sugar and served with blackberry preserves. Sounds strange, I know, but the result is delicious. It didn't occur to me for years that the sandwich was basically a ham and cheese wrapped in French toast. What's not to love?
I hadn't thought about the Monte Cristo for years, until I saw it recently on another restaurant menu. It brought back a flood of memories and inspired me to make the sandwiches for my family.
While batter-fried sandwiches sound good, they're not too good for you. I set out to make a version that resembled the original, but wasn't packed with quite so much fat or so many calories, which wasn't that difficult to do. I simply removed "frying" from the process, opting to brown it in a skillet instead, much like I would French toast, and made it all turkey, eliminating the ham. The result is not only just as yummy, it's also less messy to make.
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this sandwich will make your kids happy and bring out the kid in you.
Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of "Everyday to Entertaining" and "The Big Book of Appetizers." Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.