No one can seem to agree on where and when the Cuban sandwich originated, but most can agree that it's delicious. This humble sandwich is workingman's fare for the cigar makers and sugar cane field workers in Cuba and among the Cuban communities in Florida. Walk down Calle Ocho in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, and you'd be hard-pressed to not find a café selling "sandwich mixto" along with little cups of
jet fuel café cubano (Cuban coffee.)
An authentic Cuban sandwich is made with Cuban bread, ham, roast pork, cheese, and pickles. In Ybor City, Florida, salami is added. If you can't find Cuban bread, substitute a crispy on the outside/soft inside white sandwich roll. Do not use a French baguette.
1/3 of a Cuban bread loaf (approx 7 or 8 inches) or a soft white sandwich roll with a crispy crust
3 thin slices of ham
3 thin slices roast pork (shoulder or tenderloin)
3 thin slices of Swiss cheese
3 or 4 slices dill pickle (sliced lengthwise)
Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Spread a thin layer of yellow mustard on the inside of the bread. Add all ingredients. Spray a skillet, griddle, or sandwich press with cooking spray, like canola oil. Place sandwich in pan and lightly spray top of sandwich with canola oil. Add a heavy weight on top and press the sandwich. Cook the sandwich for about four minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.
Oh, and careful with those café cubanos; the last time I was in Miami, I had three of these at lunch, and I could have powered a small car. Yowza!
(Image: Kathryn Hill)