Cuban Sandwich


Have you ever had the pleasure of eating a Cuban Sandwich? It is the Latin variation of ham and cheese that is believed to have been first served in restaurants in Cuba in the 1930’s. 

The sandwiches were very popular with the workers in the Cuban sugar mills and later when the workers immigrated to South Florida to work in the cigar factories; it became daily cafeteria fare there. The traditional flattened and toasted Cuban sandwich was made using a special press called a plancha. 



The first time I had ever heard of or eaten a Cuban sandwich was in Key West several years ago and I was amazed with how delicious a sandwich can be.  It is a flat sandwich consisting of layers of ham and roasted pork; both sliced very thinly, cheese and pickle, spread with mustard on Cuban bread or French bread.  It is never served with lettuce, mayonnaise, tomatoes, onions or bell peppers!  Cuban sandwiches are served pressed and warm.

The key to a great, versus good Cuban sandwich is the manner in which it is grilled.  It takes a heavy hand on the press or it can be weighted down on the grill or in a skillet to infuse the cheese and meat juices, thereby making it flat and giving it the great crunchy crust.  It is one of the best sandwiches you will ever eat!

Cuban Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 loaf Cuban bread or Panini type bread
1 pound ham, cooked and sliced thinly
1 pound roasted pork, cooked and sliced thinly
½ pound Swiss cheese, sliced thinly
Dill pickles, sliced
Mustard

Method:

Use a Panini press or preheat a griddle or skillet on medium heat.
Cut the loaf of bread into quarters, slice each quarter in half lengthwise.
Spread mustard on the bread.
Layer ham, pork and cheese.
Lightly coat the cooking surface of griddle or skillet with butter or cooking spray.
Place one sandwich onto the hot surface.
Put a clean, heavy skillet on top of the sandwich to flatten it.
Press the bread down to about 1/3 of its original size.
Leave the skillet on top of the sandwich and grill for one to two minutes.
Lift the heavy skillet, flip the sandwich over repeat process for the other side of the sandwich.
Cheese should be melted and bread golden brown and crisp.
Slice each sandwich in half diagonally and serve.
Makes 4 sandwiches

Once you’ve had a Cuban Sandwich, you will be craving them!


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