A classic sandwich gets the gourmet brunch treatment with a panko crust and wine-infused mustard in this recipe from chef Alain Allegretti.
For the Sandwich
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 (1-pound) loaf white Pullman bread
1/4 pound Virginia ham, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, sliced 1/8-inch thick
Canola oil, for frying
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup panko
For the Violet Mustard
1/4 cup Pinot Noir
1/2 cup port wine
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add flour and cook, whisking, until flour is absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let bechamel cool.
Make the sandwiches: Trim crust from bread and slice lengthwise into four 1/8-inch-thick slices. Save remaining bread for another use. Working with one slice of bread at a time, spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce over one side of bread, followed by a layer of ham, a layer of cheese, and another layer of bechamel. Starting at one of the short ends, roll into a cylinder and wrap with plastic wrap. Repeat process with remaining bread slices, bechamel, ham, and cheese. Transfer sandwiches to freezer overnight.
Make the mustard: Place wine, port, and grapes in a small saucepan over medium heat; let cook until saucepan is dry, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the jar of a blender along with creme fraiche and mustard; blend until smooth. Set aside.
Remove sandwiches from freezer and let stand 10 to 15 minutes to defrost slightly. Heat enough canola oil to come up one-third of the side of a large high sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 325 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully crack eggs into skillet and cook until whites are set, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove eggs from skillet and keep warm.
Place panko in a shallow dish. Unwrap sandwiches and coat with panko. Carefully add sandwiches to hot canola oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Drizzle mustard in a zigzag fashion on each of 4 serving plates. Cut each sandwich on the bias and place on prepared plates. Top each with a sandwich and a fried egg; serve immediately.