The Italian-Cuban Sandwich

While the Akaushi burger at Logan Farms didn't knock my socks off, a new sandwich there called the "Cuban pesto" did. It's not hard to imagine that a roast pork, ham and cheese sandwich would taste pretty damn good with the Italian paste of garlic, basil, pine nuts and olive oil on it. But would it still be considered a Cuban sandwich?

The definition of a Cuban sandwich is the subject of debate. Some say the sandwich was invented to feed cigar-factory workers in Ybor City, Florida. Others say it was invented in Havana, where it was called a "mixto." Some say a "true" Cuban sandwich must be pressed in a plancha. Others contend that the original Cuban sandwich, a fancy ham-and-cheese on a foot-long section of Cuban bread, wasn't toasted at all.

The standard recipe calls for roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese and thinly sliced dill pickles on bread spread with yellow mustard. In Tampa, where there were a lot of Italian immigrants, Genoa salami was traditionally added. If you can add an Italian ingredient like Genoa salami, why not pesto? Give this sandwich a try, and I think you'll agree that the substitution of pesto for yellow mustard is nothing short of brilliant.

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