Recipe: The Cuban Sandwich

A classic cuban sandwich requires just a few ingredients.
A classic cuban sandwich requires just a few ingredients.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

In celebration of reduced restrictions on travel to Cuba, why not make its namesake sandwich with some of that leftover Easter ham? It is unclear whether or not what we know today as a Cuban sandwich was invented in the country proper or emerged in Cuban-American communities in Florida; nevertheless, this sammie remains a staple of Cuban cuisine.

Travelers to Miami and Key West will find no shortage of restaurants that offer excellent Cuban sandwiches; in Houston, however, it's considerably harder above-average versions in large part, as Katharine Shilcutt noted, the usage of inappropriate bread.

Some argue that Cuban bread and only Cuban bread is used in a Cuban sandwich (makes sense, yes?), others are more lenient and allow for the bolillo role. The latter is easier to find and available at most major supermarket chains in Texas.

The recipe, after the jump:

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Share...or not.
Share...or not.
Photo by Joanna O'Leary

Cuban Sandwiches

  • ¼ cup mustard
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 Cuban bread rolls or bolillo rolls
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced roasted pork tenderloin
  • 4 slices of ham
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • sliced pickles
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Slice the rolls length-wise. Smear mayonnaise and mustard on the underside of the tops and bottoms of the rolls. Add minced garlic to the underside of the tops of the rolls.

Layer roll bottom with slices of pork tenderloin, ham, and cheese (in that order). Add as many or as few pickles as you like on top of the cheese, then top with other half of the roll.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add sandwiches to skillet and using a metal press (or brick--seriously), compress each sandwich to the best of your ability such that it is approximately one-half its original size.* Flip sandwiches and repeat as necessary.

Enjoy while hot and with a rum cocktail of your choosing.

*Note: As you can see from the photos, I did not successfully accomplish this step because I was too dainty with the sandwich press. Learn from my mistake and smoosh the hell out of that sandwich!


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