Legend has it that the Cuban Sandwich originated when the Spaniards arrived in Cuba and introduced pork and ham to the diet of the natives. But it wasn’t until the mid 1800s that the sandwich first emerged in Key West, as the Cuban tobacco industry came to Florida and moved north to Tampa. Cuban immigrants who worked in factories yearned for a quick affordable lunch, and thus the Cuban sandwich was born. Better known as a Cubano, nothing else comes close to this crusty combo of roast pork, ham and cheese with tangy mustard and pickles. And yes, that’s two pigs in one sandwich! The key to getting it perfect is in the careful layering.
In Miami, just about any Cuban restaurant or Cuban coffee stand sticks it in a "plancha" - which is basically a panini maker that heats and squishes the sandwich flat.
Of course the Cubano is always better when served with freshly made plantain chips!
It's also a perfect sandwich to cut up into smaller pieces and serve as sliders!
classic cuban sandwich
The best way to make one of these delicious classic sandwiches is to use authentic Cuban bread. But we all know that's not always available so French bread will have to do!
The fresher your ingredients the better. Some may choose to roast their own pork, but it's so easy to buy it pre-sliced in a deli. And not to mention that Swiss cheese that glues it all together! Yum!
½ loaf cuban bread (you may substitute French bread or any crusty loaf)
3 slices serrano or any sweet ham
3 slices roast pork
3 slices swiss cheese
4 slices sweet pickles
butter for greasing pan
salt and pepper
Slice half a loaf of Cuban bread horizontally and lay open faced. Spread the mustard on both halves.
On bottom half, layer ham, pork and cheese. Add salt and pepper between the ham and pork slices. Top it off with the pickles.
Place the sandwich on a grill or in a skillet greased with butter weighting it with a heavy skillet or on a panini maker. Cook until hot and the cheese is melted. Slice diagonally across the middle and serve.