I have heard that the Cubano sandwich was born in Cuba and educated in Key West.
The Cubano is simple to prepare, but involves a bit of love and tradition. You have Cuban bread, and Cuban slow-smoked pork (lechón asado), and then ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, and mustard… that’s it… but oh so yummy.
Chef’s Note: You don’t have to use Cuban bread or spend the time smoking the pork. Just get some good thick sliced white bread, and pick up some smoked pork from your butcher. But my way is more fun :-)
Slice the Cubano roll in half.
Add the ham to a sauté pan and sear on both sides.
Chef’s Tip: This part is important because searing the ham helps to bring out its flavors… This is one of the secrets to a good Cubano.
Run two generous lines of mustard on the bottom half of the Cubano roll.
Add the seared ham to the bottom half.
Add the Swiss cheese (my favorite cheese for this is Lacy Swiss Cheese).
Add the shredded pork.
Add the dill pickles.
Chef’s Tip: I tried a lot of dill pickles, to get what I thought was the best, and in my opinion it’s Bubbies Kosher Dills. Whatever you choose, make sure that they have a lot of tang to them.
Add two more lines of mustard to the top of the bun.
Place on top of the sandwich, and then butter both sides.
Place onto the Panini press, or just put into a regular pan.
Chef’s Note: If using a regular pan, cook on medium high heat.
Use a small pan cover, or other object to press the sandwich down.
Cook until the bread browns, and the cheese melts.