Monday, August 26, 2013

The Mezze Cristo: Fried Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Creamy Horseradish, Garlic & Capers and a Sweet & Hot Dipping Relish

In general, I am not a huge fan of recipe contests.  All too often lately these things seem to revolve around how adept one is at badgering friends and family for multiple votes rather than actually determining a winner based on quality. I'm not saying the two things can't intersect and result in a deserving winner, but it's certainly not a foregone conclusion. And begging people for votes is pretty high up on my long list of Things I Cannot Stand To Do.

But the  Mezzetta "Make That Sandwich" competition is different from these tedious personality contests. It is actually curated. By people who aren't related to me. Because of this, and because I love sandwiches in a big way, I've decided to enter.

Oh, and also because the grand prize is $25,000. So there's that.

The rules are simple: Create an original sandwich using two or more Mezzetta products and submit by September 2. My "Mezze Cristo" is a twist on the classic Monte Cristo sandwich, one of my favorites. The original version is basically  a fried ham and cheese sandwich with Dijon, accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce, such as raspberry.

In my version, instead of Dijon mustard I used a combination of Mezzeta's creamy horseradish, crushed garlic, and capers as a sandwich spread. And rather than a sweet fruit sauce, I created a sweet and hot dipping relish using Mezzetta sweet cherry peppers and pickled habanero peppers. I know I'm tooting my own horn here, but this was so incredibly good, and had everything going on - salty, sweet, tangy, hot, umami.

Besides, this is essentially a savory mound of French toast stuffed with meat and cheese. How on earth could that ever be a bad thing?

The Mezze Cristo
serves 2

2 heaping tablespoons Mezzetta Cream Style Horseradish
1 heaping teaspoon Mezzetta Crushed Garlic
1 tablespoon Mezzetta Capote Capers
4 slices crusty white bread, such as pain au levain 
6 slices Black Forest deli ham
4 slices Emmenthal cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup milk
pinch salt & white pepper
1 tablespoon butter

For the dipping relish:
7 Mezzetta Sweet Cherry Peppers, stems removed
1 Mezzetta Habanero Pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon sugar (or more, to taste)
pinch of salt

To make the dipping relish, combine all of the ingredients and blend in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Refrigerate while making the sandwiches. 

For the Mezze Cristos, combine the Mezzetta horseradish, garlic, & capers. To assemble the sandwich, spread one slice of bread per sandwich with half of the mixture each. Layer 3 slices of ham and two slices of cheese for each, top with the bread and press together. Whisk together the egg and milk, along with a pinch of salt and white pepper, in a shallow bowl. Dunk both sides of the sandwiches in the egg mixture, making sure the bread is thoroughly coated. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and fry the sandwiches until brown and crispy and the cheese has melted, about 21/2 - 3 minutes per side. 

They should look like this:

In case you were worried that I haven't been eating enough what with all these 5:2 Fast Day posts, I hope the above image reassures you. I devoured this.

Make this! You will love it. And since I'm not bothering you to vote for me, perhaps I could trouble you to keep your fingers crossed?


  1. The Monte Cristo is a classic but you have managed to give it a kick in the pants in the most delightful way! I dare say I might enjoy your creation here even more since has so many of the great tangy flavors I love like these! I'm sure the Mezzetta curators will be as impressed as I am! Best of luck!

  2. You won't have to beg to get votes, Trix! This is one terrific sandwich!!

  3. Awesome flavors between slices of French toast? So so good. Good luck!

  4. I'm with you on the contests, but this one sounds like it was a must. You deserve a win for your name alone. Couple it with what is a glorious 'wich - first place ought to got to you!

  5. this is just the best weekend breakfast we can ever think of,so rich,flavorful and filling,yummy :-)