I’m really not much of a sandwich girl. Maybe it’s because my university years were wrought with far too many squished tuna sammies eaten out of my backpack.
In one of my first jobs after graduation, I worked with a lady that ate the same peanut butter and banana sandwich every day. She was always positive. I guess it didn’t take much to make her happy. And if she wasn’t such a positive person, I would have found it depressing to even sit with her at lunch. A lousy lunch everyday (especially in the form of a cold sandwich) is a downer, even if it’s not yours.
But HOT sandwiches, now that’s a game changer!
I love that paninis are still all trendy-like. And because every corner coffee shop now has a press (and so do I!), I only have to eat a cold sandwich out of pure desperation.
I have a job that requires I eat lunch on my lap in my van pretty regularly. So, in order to avoid eating a cold sandwich, I will go to great lengths. Before leaving my office, I will heat it up the sandwich, put it in one of the Tupperware sandwich holders, wrap it in tin foil and house it in my insulated lunch bag until after my meeting when I can finally eat. Trust me, it’s worth the effort.
I created this sandwich because I love Greek food. So… if you like your sandwiches HOT, give this a try!
Mediterranean Monte Sandwich
This hot Mediterranean take on the monte cristo sandwich is perfect to make when you are craving Greek flavours like Kalamata black olive and feta.
- 8 California grape leaves (chard leaves can be substituted)
- 2 tbsp pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp roasted red bell peppers from jar (I use Mezzetta), drained and patted dry
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 4 slices white bread (you can use any bread, but these hold up best)
- 1/2 tsp minced or pureed garlic * I use garlic from a jar
- 3 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 2 tsp honey mustard
- 4 slices swiss cheese
- 4 tbsp feta cheese , very finely crumbled
- 2 tbsp deli-sliced Golden Greek pepperoncini ( I use Mezzetta) you could substitute any hot pepper/tamed or regular jalapenos
Place grape leaves in large bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit 5 minutes. When done, drain, pat dry and set aside (do the same if using Chard leaves)
Meanwhile, blend black olives and red peppers in food processor and mix until very finely chopped (Not pureed but just before reaching that stage)
Transfer pepper/olive mix to wide, shallow bowl and add egg, milk and oregano. Mix until egg is broken up and fully incorporated.
Spray frying pan with non- stick spray and heat element to medium on stovetop. Using your hands, place all 4 pieces of bread in the egg mixture (one at a time) and coat bread with egg mixture, then flip to coat other side.
Immediately transfer to preheated frying pan and cook all 4 pieces of bread in frying pan until lightly browned and no longer soggy , on both sides (about 5 minutes on each side). Transfer to work surface (eg. cutting board)
Mix mayonnaise with crushed garlic and lemon rind in small bowl.
Spread inside of 2 pieces of bread with the mayo mixture and the other pieces with honey mustard. Add ham and Swiss cheese on the mustard side, dividing between both sandwiches.
Next lay 4 grape leaves on top of each Swiss cheese on each sandwich, then sprinkle on feta cheese. Top with pepperoncini, divided between both sandwiches, again. Cover with other piece of bread (mayo side down).
Return to frying pan and cook on low (covered) until inside is melted and outside is crunchy (about 3-5 minutes). (You may have to flip a couple of times).
Serve HOT, of course!
*NOTE: I buy Mezzetta products at Sobey's in Calgary, but you can get them online as well. You can use any roasted red peppers, but I never seen pepperoncini in another brand- I think this is a Mezzetta signature product. This is NOT a sponsored post for Mezzetta. Grape Leaves: The leaves of grape vines are used most commonly in Greek cooking for "dolmas" as well as in some other Mediterranean dishes. *NOTE: I buy grape leaves at a Mediterranean market