By Blake Stilwell
Let me preface this post by saying I will not be able to be as clever or get as many pop culture references into it as the writers of this show could. As Eaten is a shadow what this show can do.
It’s holiday break, but school will soon be back in (for some of you) and I was thinking that we could slip in one last fattening holiday treat. If I were going to create the signature dish from Community, I know it would have to be Abed’s Buttered Noodles, as they’re mentioned in many an episode… but that’s not very difficult.
The dish of choice comes from the tag of Community’s “Alternative History of the German Invasion,” episode four of season four, and is an offering at Shirley’s Sandwiches in the cafeteria.
This episode is packed with more references than I could ever hope to fit in an As Eaten post: Hogan’s Heroes, Die Hard, Die Hard III, Actual World History, Community itself, and another appearance of Michael Haggins’ Daybreak, a running gag through out the series (I love running gags).
This sandwich is a lot more filling (and heavy) than most of what we’ve eaten from TV thus far. And if you’re at risk of coronary issues, it’s probably one to be avoided, but if you’re not, prepare your taste buds for the fried confection/lunch that even the Great New York State Fair didn’t offer: a Triple-Fried Monte Cristo Sandwich.
The Fried Chicken Skin Wrap also might be worth an As Eaten Entry.
Even though you never actually see the Monte Cristo, just the fact that it’s offered at a Community College Cafeteria Sandwich Shop was intriguing to me. Could this possibly be made in short order? Would it be something that any student could pay for? Is this something any one wants to eat?
The Monte Cristo itself is a twist on the French croque monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a bechamel sauce, which is just a white sauce made with butter, flour and milk (if you try this separately, add pepper. Trust me.) Butthis goes beyond just a grilled ham and cheese. We upgrade the cheese, the meats, and fry it in a egg batter, and served with powdered sugar and jam. It’s the love child of French Toast and Grilled Cheese. It’s the meal for when you miss breakfast, but are too early for lunch… and also aren’t at brunch.
1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices white bread
4 slices gruyere cheese (because swiss is for losers)
4 slices turkey
4 slices ham
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large pan to 365 degrees. I don’t have a deep fryer, but when I’m at home, I use a wok. Sue me, it’s big and it works. While oil is heating, make the batter. Some fry cooks covet a single batter, with egg and water mixed in with your dry ingredients. I usually opt for a separate wet/dry batter. Here, there is no choice. Using a wet batter will only result in sloppy bread. Suck it up, and follow the directions.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Put it in the refrigerator.
- Assemble sandwiches by placing turkey on one slice of bread, ham on another, then the gruyere cheese in the middle (much easier than a Grilled Charlie). Cut sandwiches into quarters (to fit in the fryer… don’t be a hero), and secure with toothpicks (this is important).
- Dip each sandwich quarter in the batter so that all sides are coated. Deep fry until golden brown on all sides. Then do it again. And Again.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (It will likely get soggy if you don’t). Garnish with jam (I like strawberry) and a sprig of mint if you like the color.
The sandwiches will be very hot. As tempting as they look… please give them time to cool. Cool cool cool.
Enjoy this triple fried sweet delight with the delightfully sweet sounds of Daybreak.