There are Cuban people in NYC and there are Cuban restaurants.  However, I don’t know a place where I can get a solid Cuban sandwich; and you can bet I’ve tried my share.  So the other day when I watched Daisy Martinez make a tasty looking Cubano on her show (and I mean her REAL show, the one on WLIW, not the piece of garbage on Food Network, where they force fit the spicy Latina through their standard mold, and turned her into a cross of Ingrid Hoffman and Rachael Ray), I knew I had to have one.  So I turned to the best place: home.

Cuban Stack 2

Jess whipped up a basic roast pork last week, using a picnic butt cut of pork.  It was flavored with orange juice, rum, and cumin — that would be perfect.  At a Super Stop & Shop near my NJ office (where food is much cheaper), I grabbed some Alpine Lace Swiss Cheese (a very basic, safety swiss), sandwich sliced Claussen Pickles, and hoagie rolls.  Before getting into yummy details on the sandwich, I have to talk about those pickles.

That night I got caught in really bad traffic heading back to NY.  The pickle jar was my savior!  I snacked on slice after slice — the garlicy goodness tided me over.

mayo and roast pork layer swiss layer ham layer pickle layer second swiss layer assembled cuban

We sliced open the rolls and spread on a healthy bit of mayo on both top and bottom.  Then in this order, stacked up our sandwiches: thinly sliced roast pork, a folded layer of swiss (two slices), pickle slices, one unfolded layer of swiss, and a folded layer of sliced, boiled, deli ham.  Meanwhile our panini press heated.

wrapped in foil

Then the trick: wrap the sandwich tightly in a single layer of aluminum foil.  Throw in the panini press and give it a squeeze.  It doesn’t take long (maybe 4-5 minutes) until you’ve got an incredible sandwich.

hot pressed cuban sandwich

Jessica and I marveled at the perfect selection of flavors that the inventor of the Cubano assembled.  The rich mayo and gooey cheese provide a richness that is balanced by the vinegar and garlic in the pickles.  The roast pork provides nice body in the sandwich and the boiled ham keeps it moist, without reducing the pork flavor.  Pressing it the whole thing gives it a tightness that doesn’t easily fall apart when you bite in.

Cuban Stack

And with such a delicious sandwich, you will bite in, again and again.

posted by Lon at 08:44 AM Filed under Un-Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.