Two Years Ago: Farro and Kale Salad
This is another installment in my occasional and erratic series of famous sandwiches of the world. Past posts have included pan bagnat, banh mi, Italian tuna, chicken schnitzel, and buffalo chicken sliders to name a few. Cubanos originated in Florida and are made with Cuban rolls, roast pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese and mustard, all pressed together on a griddle or grill until warm and crisp. Outside of Miami they also often include salami. Although the most authentic version calls for yellow mustard, I used a combination of both whole grain and Dijon mustards for different textures and flavors. And again although Cuban bread is authentic, you probably won't find it outside of a Mexican market in most cities. Any soft oblong roll will work - just don't use a hard crusty French roll because it won't compress and crisp they way it should.
If you can find roast pork in the deli, that's great, otherwise plan to make Cubanos with the leftovers next time you make a pork roast or tenderloin. Use the best quality Swiss cheese you can find, and slice everything as thinly as possible. Placing cheese on both the top and bottom of each roll ensure the whole thing sticks together as the cheese melts.
Cubanos are like the best ham and cheese sandwich you've ever had, all crispy and warm and gooey. There's a reason they're famous.
2 (8 to 10”) Cuban rolls (or soft Bolillo or hoagie rolls)
4-5 ounces roast pork, leftover or purchased from the deli
4 thin slices of smoked ham
6 slices best-quality aged Swiss cheese
Yellow mustard or Dijon mustard
2 medium dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons softened butter or olive oil
Preheat a Panini press or large skillet over medium heat.
Split the rolls lengthwise. Slice the leftover pork as thinly as possible.
Spread a thin layer of mustard on the top and bottom of each roll. Tear each piece of Swiss cheese in half and place 1 ½ slices (3 rectangles) on the bottom and top of each roll. Layer the pork, ham and pickles on the bottom of each roll. Close the sandwiches, pressing gently together.
Brush the top and bottom of each sandwich with softened butter or olive oil. Place the sandwiches in the press, using moderate pressure, for about 8 minutes until crisp on both sides. If using a skillet, use a second pan to press on the top of the sandwiches for about 4 minutes, then flip to crisp the second side. Sandwiches should be somewhat compressed but not completely flat.
Slice sandwiches in half and serve.