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Irresistible Cuban Sandwiches: A Flavor Fiesta in Every Bite

Authentic Cuban Sandwich Recipe - Perfect for Lunch or Dinner

Discover the ultimate sandwich experience with our mouthwatering Cuban Sandwiches! Three succulent meats, melty cheese, tangy pickles, and zesty mustard, all pressed to crispy perfection.

Craving a taste of Havana? Look no further than this iconic Cuban Sandwich recipe. It’s the perfect way to transform leftover roast pork into a handheld masterpiece that’ll transport your taste buds straight to the streets of Miami or Tampa.

This isn’t just another ham and cheese sandwich – it’s the undisputed champion of the sandwich world. With layers of flavors and textures, each bite is a journey through Cuban-American culinary history. Get ready to experience el rey de jamón y queso (the king of ham and cheese) in all its glory!

The Fascinating Origins of the Cuban Sandwich

While debate rages on about its exact birthplace, most food historians agree that the Cuban sandwich likely emerged in the mid-19th century. It was created to fuel the hardworking cigar- and sugar-factory workers in Florida’s Key West, Ybor City, and Tampa areas.

The sandwich’s journey mirrors the rich tapestry of Cuban immigration to the United States. As communities grew and cultures blended, the Cubano evolved, with each region adding its own special touch. The great Tampa vs. Miami rivalry even extends to this beloved sandwich, with Tampa’s version famously including a layer of Genoa salami – a nod to the city’s Italian influences.

Ingredients

  • Cuban bread: A soft, lard-enriched loaf that crisps up beautifully
  • Swiss cheese: For that perfect melt and nutty flavor
  • Honey ham: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance the savory elements
  • Roast pork: The star of the show, tender and full of flavor
  • Dill pickles: Thinly sliced for the ideal tangy crunch
  • Yellow mustard: Brings a zesty kick to every bite
  • Genoa salami: Optional, but highly recommended for an extra layer of deliciousness

Pro tip: Can’t find authentic Cuban bread? Look for a soft ‘French’ or ‘Italian’ loaf, or a not-too-crusty ciabatta as a worthy substitute.

The Art of Pressing: Achieving Cubano Perfection

What sets a Cuban sandwich apart is the pressing technique. This crucial step melds the flavors together and creates that irresistible crispy exterior. Here are your pressing options:

  1. Panini press: The easiest method, ensuring even heat and pressure.
  2. Stovetop method: Use two heavy skillets to create a makeshift press.

Remember, the key is to press firmly, compressing the sandwich to about a third of its original height. This ensures all those delicious ingredients become one harmonious flavor explosion!

Ready to Create Your Cuban Sandwich Masterpiece?

Ingredients

  • Two 8- to 10-inch sections Cuban bread, split open horizontally (see note)
  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) yellow mustard
  • 6 ounces (170g) sliced Swiss cheese
  • 6 ounces (170g) thinly sliced dill pickles
  • 8 ounces (220g) sliced honey ham
  • 6 ounces (170g) leftover Cuban-style roast pork
  • 4 ounces (115g) sliced Genoa salami (optional; see note)
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) butter

Directions

  1. Preheat your panini press or a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Lay out your bread sections and generously spread mustard on both halves. Layer Swiss cheese on both the top and bottom pieces – this acts as the delicious glue holding everything together.
  2. On the bottom half, create your flavor paradise: Start with a layer of pickles, then stack on the ham, roast pork, and salami (if using). Gently close your sandwich, pressing down slightly to ensure everything stays in place.
  3. If using a panini press: Butter both sides of the press, place your sandwiches inside, and close the lid. Apply moderate pressure and let the magic happen for about 8 minutes, until both sides are gloriously crisp.
  4. For the stovetop method: Melt half the butter in your skillet. Add the sandwiches and use a second heavy pan to press down on them. Once the first side is crispy (about 5 minutes), flip the sandwiches, add the remaining butter, and press again until both sides are golden brown and irresistible (about 10 minutes total).
  5. Slice your Cuban sandwiches diagonally and serve immediately. Prepare for an explosion of flavors and textures in every bite!

Notes

Cuban bread is a soft white bread made with lard. Look for it in Latin bakeries or groceries. If unavailable, use any not-too-crusty, soft white rolls, preferably with some lard or fat baked into them. Salami is a traditional ingredient in Tampa-style Cuban sandwiches, but can be omitted.

Cuban Sandwiches

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
941 Calories
59g Fat
33g Carbs
68g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 941
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 59g 76%
Saturated Fat 30g 149%
Cholesterol 207mg 69%
Sodium 2547mg 111%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 68g
Vitamin C 3mg 16%
Calcium 874mg 67%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 717mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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