A few months ago, I went out to eat at a local restaurant chain called Stanfords. Shortly after placing my order, the server returned to our table and delivered the bad news that the kitchen was out of whatever it was I ordered. Rats! Um, no I didn’t order rats ... that’s just an expression.
Anyway, she handed me the menu to reselect an item and I just randomly picked the Cubano sandwich. The server, who appeared quite relieved that I wasn’t flipping out due to the order snafu, assured me that it really and truly was her most favorite item on the menu. Alrighty, then.
Well, the server knew her stuff. Sweet heavenly Havana, the Cubano sandwich was delightful. So delightful, that I’m thankful to both angels and fate for working together to enable the change of order. Who knew that crunchy bread, warm cheese, tangy mustard, pork and pickles could be so good? I was determined to recreate it at home.
Cubano’s, also called simply Cuban Sandwiches, are a delightful, hot, pressed pork sandwich. No exotic ingredients are needed here. Some recipes call for just pork, while others insist upon both pork and ham. Mustard is a must, as are pickles and swiss cheese. A nice hearty bread encases it all. While these would be very convenient to make in a sandwich press or panini machine, I mimicked the process by stacking a hot, heavy cast iron pan on top of mine. You’ll see what I mean in just a minute. Let’s begin, shall we?Gather these ingredients
1 hearty bread roll like ciabatta
Dill pickle slices
Pork ... sliced, shredded, etc.
Oil for greasing skillet
1 non stick skillet
1 cast iron skillet – heated
First, heat up a cast iron skillet until it is very warm, but not killer hot.Now, slice open your roll, and slather with yellow mustard.Then layer with a slice of swiss cheese,Then pickles,Then pork,Then some more cheese.
Cap it off with the other roll piece. Using papertowels, wipe a nonstick skillet with just a touch of oil, same as you would for pancakes. Heat this greased skillet on medium heat,Place sandwich in the skillet.Put a slice of foil on top, andThen put the heated cast iron skillet on top of the foil. The weight of the cast iron will press the sandwich flatter, and the heat of it will help cook the sandwich. Let cook until the bottom starts to turn a toasted golden color, then flip the sandwich, replace the foil, and put the cast iron pan back on top. Toast the bottom side just a couple of minutes. Remove from pan, and let sit for about a minute.Slice in half and serve. YUM! Pressing the sandwich really transforms it. The bread takes on an entirely different texture when pressed, and the pork goes so well with the other tangy ingredients.See how golden and crisp the bread becomes?You can eat these hot or cold. I like 'em hot! Do you want one? Come on over, and I’ll make cubano’s for everyone.
Oh, and be sure to visit Cheryl's blog, Cooking Dunkin Style. She posted an awesome Cubano today, too! Great minds and all that!