Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pizza Fritta (Yes!) & A Monte Cristo Sandwich (No!)

A version of the Monte Cristo sandwich not dipped in batter and fried.

Don't believe anyone who tells you a Monte Cristo sandwich is like a croque monsieur because it's not. A Monte Cristo sandwich is a ham/turkey and cheese sandwich dipped in an egg, flour and milk batter and deep fried. That sounds like typical greasy American diner fried food which can be very tempting to some but gross to me. I searched for a healthier version and found it in Saveur. The bread is French-toasted, then sandwiched with slices of ham, turkey and cheese and then pan-fried. Because the recipe said to press the sandwich while frying, the resulting sandwich tasted like the heavy compressed piece of French toast that it was. Disappointing so I won't give you the link to the recipe. Next is a totally thumbs up recipe.

I had leftover dough from the breakfast pizza yesterday and when he came home from school today, Wey wanted to make his own pizza. He said he would fry it and then grill it, according to page 59 of Jamie Oliver's 'Jamie's Italy'. The boy reads cookbooks at bedtime and has stored up many recipes to try.  I was doubtful but didn't want to interfere with his culinary creativity/curiosity so I left him alone in the kitchen. A while later, he came to me with this:

Pizza fritta knocked my socks off (sorry, that's how I felt too Jamie except I wasn't even wearing socks)

This is pizza fritta, fried pizza. I thought it tasted better than baked pizza although it was oilier. The golden fried pizza bases looked like naan and yu ja gui but were pillowy soft. Absolutely delicious! According to Jamie, this is how the first pizzas were made: fried in a pan and then grilled to melt the cheese.

Just roll your dough on a lightly floured surface into a small piece (say hand-size) about 1/4"/0.5 cm thick,  it doesn't have to be regular circle, let it rest 10-15 minutes and fry in 1/2 cup of oil in a small pan. Turn over afer 30 seconds and fry another 30 seconds, remove and place on a kitchen paper to catch the oil, then put on a baking tray. Smear each base with a spoonful of tomato sauce, top with (buffalo) mozzarella and dried oregano or basil leaves and put  under a hot grill (Wey used the toaster oven grill) until the cheese is melted. Wey was resourceful and used whatever ingredients he found in the fridge. Thanks to Wey, I've discovered pizza fritta!


fishm0i said...

Wey can be a good chef in the future! :D

Zurin said...

you are so lucky to have a son who cooks for himself ! :)))

the lunch guy said...

sandwiches, gifts form the gods.

monte cristo is a favorite of mine and it is also on a good proportion of the lunch menus in the NE USA where i come from. there is a lot of debate on what is considered to be the real deal, but where i come from (outside nyc) this is how it is prepared and served: swiss, ham, turkey and swiss again, sandwiched between two slices of seeded rye bread, dipped into french toast egg batter and grilled in melted butter. after it is flipped to cook on the second side a bacon press is simply laid on top. ($main-Large$) do not press down too forcefully on the press or it will cause the cheese to ooze out and burn on the griddle, and it will also make the bread to thin and cause it to get dense and soggy at the same time. (this may not be traditional, but it is a way to avoid it from being greasy.)

after letting it cool for a moment, it is then
sliced into thirds to create 3 triangular pieces so that it can then be easily dipped into the side dish of honey-mustard sauce or 1000 islands dressing that accompanies it.

the place where i first had to cook this sandwich as part of my line duties also had another grilled sandwich that i like.

open faced buttered rye is laid on the griddle (butter side down) and topped with roast beef and cole slaw (that has been drained of any extra mayo dressing) and that is all then topped with swiss cheese. about 85% of the way through cooking process it is spritzed with a mist of dry white vermouth, this gets the cheese to melt faster and adds a bit of flavor. serve with a good brown grain mustard.

the vermouth trick is also great for cheeseburgers. put some in a small plant sprayer and keep it around. you will surprised how often you reach for it when making hot sandwiches or burgers.

red | hongyi said...

impressive! but too bad i dont hv an oven here...unless i go out and buy a mini one

btw, to prepare for your two months here, visit this site:

it's fantastic. i swear u'll be stuffing urself with cheese and the site tells u what compliments each type of cheese. it's very interactive as well and teaches u how to pronounce the names of the drinks and cheese, so tune up the volume!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

look simple and delicious, well done!

Genie said...

"The boy reads cookbooks at bedtime and has stored up many recipes to try." I hope to have a child like yours!

Terri said...

Good for you! Wey is a chef in training. Just remember the kitchen rules, Mom: The chef cooks, someone else (probably Mom) cleans up! :)

kat said...

Hi Terri,

Agnes ( has some good shots of AD/Dubai. Take a look so you know what to expect.

gill gill said...

way to go Wey! He proved his self in love in cooking.
There is another pizza fritta thingy call Panzerotti, its from north Italian, it a deep frying pizza, using texture like spongy doughnut dough and fold with cheese and ham. i get the info from other blogs too.

TeaLady said...

Sad about the sandwich. I actually love a heavy ham and cheese sandwich, but then I fill them with lots of stuff. Sorry it didn't work for you, though.

On the other hand, Wey's pizza sounds/looks terrific. Let's hope he keeps up with his cooking. We may watch him one day on a Chef Show!!!

pizza naples said...

very impressive! you can be gud chef in future!

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