About 30 years ago, I went to a picnic where the hostess served hot ham sandwiches that were delicious. They were prepared ahead of time, wrapped individually in foil, and warmed in the oven. I asked for the recipe and she graciously told me that she made a mixture of butter and yellow mustard, spread it on both sides of a bun, then put ham and mozzarella cheese on it. So simple, and yet warming the whole thing until toasty elevated the ham ‘n’ cheese sammie to a whole new level.
This became something that we prepared throughout the years and it was always enjoyed. Sometimes we put pickles on the sandwich. Little did we realize that we were close to making a Cubano.
A year or two ago, I was watching a food show on TV and noticed that they were discussing a hot ham sandwich called a Cubano, or Cuban sandwich popular in Miami. The origin of the sandwich is unclear but it is readily available wherever there is a sizeable Cuban population. Even the restaurant chain “Beef O’Brady’s” has it on their menu, with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayonnaise.
The “classic” Cubano would be served on Cuban bread, similar to French or Italian bread but more rectangular in shape. The bread slices would be spread with mustard and layered with thin dill pickles slices, ham, pork, and Swiss cheese. The pork, which is omitted in some recipes, should be marinated in a citrus and garlic marinade before roasting. The assembled sandwich should then be grilled and pressed like paninis, but could just as easily be cooked on a griddle and pressed with a heavy pot or skillet.
It is a great sandwich, one to add to the list of divinely inspired sandwiches, along with Reubens and BLT’s.