Side note: Ann Patchett is magical. MAGICAL.
So these are the days that I transition us from our steady diet of grilled chicken and tomato salad and corn and basil everything into the warmer comfort foods of early fall. I’m not quite ready for the pumpkin storm, but not quite ready to give up my beloved dinner salads, and so this Monte Cristo salad is the perfect solution.
If you aren’t familiar with the classic Monte Cristo sandwich that was the inspiration for this salad, it is a kicked up grilled cheese that features ham, turkey and Swiss cheese sandwiched between two pieces of French toasted bread. It is every bit as glorious as you think it is, and also, well, FILLING.
My salad version keeps all those flavors, but lightens them up a little. Little cubes of ham, turkey and Swiss cheese make up the basis of the salad. The sandwich bread is transformed into little French toast croutons. All that deliciousness is tossed with chopped romaine lettuce and a light maple syrup dressing.
And while I will miss those lazy hazy days, a couple plates of Monte Cristo salad and my new fall boots, and I’ll be ready for the pumpkins!
- 1 cup challah or other soft bread, cut into small cubes
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ pound ham, cut into small cubes
- ¼ pound cooked turkey, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup Swiss cheese, cut into small cubes
- 2 cups romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375 and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Toss bread cubes with butter and sugar and spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake until golden and crispy, about 10 minutes.
- Put all dressing ingredients in a small jar, put top on securely and shake until well-combined.
- Put ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce and croutons in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing, toss and serve.