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Cuban sandwich

For an upgraded lunchtime dish, there’s no better option than a traditional Cuban sandwich. Layers of meat and cheese combine to make the ultimate toastie flavor experience. Ready in just 15 minutes, this is a dish best enjoyed with friends and family.

17 May, 2024
Average: 4 (2 votes)

serves for

2

total time

0 HR 15 MIN

ingredients

Yellow mustard
2 oz/4 tbsp
Cuban bread
2, split horizontally
Cheese
6 oz/170g
Pickles
6 oz/170g, sliced
Butter
1 oz/2 tbsp
Roast pork
6 oz/170g
Honey ham
8 oz/220g, sliced

How to make a Cuban sandwich

Step 01

Preheat a cast iron skillet over a medium heat. Spread the Cuban bread halves with the yellow mustard, whilst the skillet reaches temperature.

Step 02

Layer the Cuban bread with Swiss cheese on both sides. Then layer the bottom half of the Cuban bread with the dill pickles, honey ham, and roast pork. Close the sandwich halves together.

Step 03

Melt half of the butter in the pan and then add the sandwiches. Using a second pan, place it on top of the sandwiches and press down. When the sides have crisped, flip the sandwiches and then add the remaining butter to the pan. Continue to cook the sandwiches whilst pressing.

Step 04

Once crisp, remove the sandwiches from the pan and slice in half diagonally for serving.

 

Tips & tricks

First things first, when it comes to Cuban sandwich ingredients, you have to invest in good quality bread. Ideally, you’ll want to source Cuban bread, which is a white bread similar to Italian bread. If you’re struggling to find this, you can substitute with a long loaf of Italian bread if needed. The main element you need to consider with your choice of bread is to ensure there’s a bit of outer softness for the pressing.

For the best Cuban sandwich recipe, we’ve suggested using thin honey ham slices to create a sweet contrast with the savory roast pork. It’s also worth taking the time to thinly slice the dill pickles from the jar to make sure the sandwich isn’t overloaded and there’s a good balance between the proportion of the ingredients. Another key trick with Cuban sandwiches is to take the time to press them firmly to create a crispy outer layer and compact all of the ingredients together. Whilst some chefs will have a specific panini press at home, it’s perfectly fine to create a makeshift press using a couple of hot surfaces like a second cast iron pan or frying pan to weigh the sandwich down. The main difference in not using a specific press is that you’ll have to flip the sandwich halfway through cooking.

As with any historical dish, there’s a fierce debate and two contrasting schools of thought surrounding the discussion of 'What is a Cuban sandwich?'. It’s thought to have originated in Florida amongst the Cuban population, but those in Tampa would argue a Cuban sandwich requires salami to be fully complete, whereas those in Miami tend to leave this ingredient out. As sandwiches go, this one has a fascinating history and if you’re headed to Florida, it’s worth adding in a visit or two to the top Cuban sandwich spots. Once you’ve mastered the Cuban sandwich, why not use your lunchtime to explore different flavors and sandwich inspiration from around the world?

How to serve it

When it comes to Cuban sandwiches, more is more. Whilst it’s tasty straight from the skillet, there’s no need to hold back with indulgent side dishes. A Cuban sandwich is delicious alongside a hearty helping of chili cheese fries, mashed sweet potatoes, or a spicy rice and bean dish. Take all the inspiration you need from Cuba and Latin America to create a lunchtime sandwich to remember.

Storage

Though we doubt you’ll have much leftover, if you are defeated by your Cuban sandwich, you can wrap the leftovers in foil and store in the fridge for around three days.

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