Rebecca is a retired special education teacher. She earned a master's degree at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA.
What Is a Cuban Sandwich?
The Cuban sandwich, also called the Cubano, is served in restaurants all around Tampa and Miami as well as at street-corner snack bars known as luncherias.
Cuba, where the sandwich originated in the 1500s, is only 90 miles away from South Florida. The sandwich found its way there in the 1800s when Cubans flocked to Florida to escape Spanish rule.
Cuban sandwiches are like submarine sandwiches with roast pork, ham, cheese, dill pickles, and yellow mustard. The ingredients are layered and sandwiched between slices of Cuban bread.
Cubans and Floridians all agree that the key to a great Cuban sandwich is in the grilling. They are grilled in a special sandwich press called a plancha. This method allows the meat and pickles to be warmed in their own steam. The cheese, placed on both pieces of bread, envelopes the meat and pickles. The cheese will melt and fuse the meat and pickles together.
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The Cuban Sandwich Simplified
It is said that true Cuban bread can not be found outside Miami and Tampa (except of course in Cuba), but French or Italian bread makes a good substitute.
I came up with my version of the Cuban sandwich when I had lots of leftover pork roast cooked in whole grain mustard, brown sugar, and thyme. I used a thin-sliced deli for the ham. It’s an easy sandwich to make and a quite tasty substitute for the real Cubano.
- 1 pound pork roast, sliced thin
- 1 pound deli ham, sliced thin
- 8-10 slices Swiss or muenster cheese
- dill pickle chips, to taste
- Italian bread, sliced
- mayonnaise, to taste
- butter, for frying
- Lightly spread the bread with mayo.
- Put a slice of cheese on each side.
- Add the meats with pickles and mustard between them.
- Grill on each side in a frying pan using plenty of butter.