Cuban Sandwiches – Soooo Gooood!

Posted by on Apr 3, 2012 in Food Journal, Lunch

Cuban Sandwiches – Soooo Gooood!

Cuban Sandwiches – I remember the first time I ever had a Cuban Sandwich. It was with my husband, Xavier. He had been excited for days about having one of these sandwiches. It was the first Christmas we spent out here in AZ. You see, in his family, and I suspect in most Puerto Rican Families, they eat Pernil (a roasted pork dish) for Christmas Eve Dinner. At this point I had never had Pernil either, so I was pretty excited for my first traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal. Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this. So anyway, we went to his parents and had the Pernil, which is amazing by the way. Well, after dinner was done and the festivities were all over and it was time to say good-bye, we were all called into the kitchen for our “take-home” plates. What I didn’t know is that Xavier’s mother makes enough Pernil for everyone to take a plate home – so that everyone can have Cuban Sandwiches the next day. Yay! So, the next day was Christmas. We got up and had our traditional Christmas which at the time involved panettone french toast and white wine! Then, when lunch time rolled around, it was time for the greatly anticipated Cuban Sandwiches. My husband went off into the kitchen to make them while I got to relax on the couch and do nothing – aaahhhhhh, so wonderful! About 15 minutes later, he returned to the living room carrying a tray. He sat down next to me and put the tray on my lap and then began to explain what he had made. The sandwich has pernil, baked ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, spicy mustard, and mayo all pressed together on french bread. He also handed me a glass of wine and a bouquet of flowers and gave me a fat kiss and wished me a Merry Christmas – again. He’s so romantic! :D My first taste of a Cuban Sandwich was incredible! Just so you know, Christmas is not the only time of year that we have Cuban Sandwiches, it just happened to be the first time I tried one. Also, it is traditional to do these sandwiches on “Cuban Bread”. French Bread is the next closest substitute in my opinion and it is what I use – mainly because I can buy it anywhere. I also read that mayo is not part of the original sandwich, but I like it, so I use it. Keep in mind that food is like art and it is up to the artist creating the meal to add or subtract to make their creation their own. With that in mind, feel free to prepare this to your own liking and more importantly – enjoy! Happy Cooking!

1 French Bread loaf (Cuban Bread if you have it)
spicy mustard (yellow or dijon if you prefer)
mayonnaise (optional)
Pernil (about one pound), sliced about 1/4 inch thick
baked ham (about one pound, we don’t use lunch meat for this), sliced
Swiss Cheese, 1/4 pound or so
dill pickles, sliced

1. Slice your french bread long ways down the middle.
2. Spread the top slice with mayo and then mustard.
3. Place cheese slices over the mayo and mustard spreads.
4. Slice your pickles and place them on the bottom slice of bread.
5. Slice the pernil and warm it up either in the microwave for about 30 seconds (covered), or in a saute pan. Don’t skip the warming part because then your sandwich won’t be nice and warm in the middle unless you overcook the outside.
6. Lay the warm pernil down on the pickle side.
7. Warm your ham for just a few seconds (it dries out easy so be careful) then put it over the pernil.
8. Close up your sandwich, slice it in half and put it in the press – I use a panini press but you can also use a flat sandwich press or a saute pan. If you use a saute pan, you’ll need to put something heavy on top to press it while it cooks (like a heavy sauce pot), also, we put our press on high to start and lower it to medium-high while the Cubans cook, it’s just going to depend on your press.
9. When the cheese is melty and the outside is crispy, your beautiful Cuban Sandwich is done. Take it off of the press and enjoy! Oh yeah, we serve ours with chips or tostones – preferably tostones!

Please enjoy this “how-to” video!

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