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Authentic Cuban Sandwich Recipe - How to Make a Cubano
Traditional Cuban recipe - Added October, 2001


Cuban sandwich picture

There are plenty of recipes to make a Cuban sandwich, but only one recipe is traditional.  An authentic Cuban will not have mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, or jalapeños.  Some Cuban restaurants don't add mustard or pickles, but they will never leave off the pork. It's the flavor that really ties the whole sandwich together. 


You can also add more ham and roast pork than what's called for below, depending on the size of the slices or your appetite.


Prep Time: 5 minutes - Cook Time: 5 minutes - Total Time: 10 minutes



4 slices of ham
4 slices roast pork
3 slices of Swiss cheese
3 or 4 pickle slices

Yellow mustard (not spicy or dijon)
1/3 cut Cuban bread hard crust (or French bread)



If you can get your hands on fresh, crusty Cuban bread, that would work best. But if not, you can also use a 12 to 16 inch loaf of French Bread, cut in half.


Cut your bread lengthwise into two pieces. Spread mustard on the inside of each half. Layer the ham slices on one piece of bread, then top with the roasted pork. If you don't have sliced pork, "pulled" style roast pork will also work (some restaurants heap it on). Add Swiss cheese on top of the pork, and then add the pickle slices.  Place the other piece of bread on top.


You have two options for cooking your sandwich if you are using an electric sandwich press.  The first option is to use cooking spray on the press before placing the sandwich inside. The tastier option is to brush soft butter on the outside of both pieces of bread.  You will find that it's much easier to spread the butter on the outside of the bread before you actually start adding meat.


Place the sandwich inside of a pre-heated Cuban sandwich press, and press down firmly until the cheese has melted, and the bread is slightly hard to the touch.  If you don't have a press, you can place the sandwich in a hot skillet on the stove, and then press the sandwich down with another frying pan.  Some people, believe or not, use a brick wrapped in tin foil when nothing else is available. 


When finished, the sandwich should be flattened down to less than half the original size.  Slice the sandwich diagonally across the middle, so that you have two triangle-shaped wedges. Buen Provecho! Serves 1.



Cuban Sandwich Tips & Variations:


1. You can add or leave off ingredients as you like, but the recipe above is used if you want to make a traditional Cuban. The most common changes I've seen is people leaving off the mustard or pickles.


2. In Tampa, Florida, where many believe the Cuban sandwich was created, it is common to include salami. Although the recipe above is for a Miami-style Cuban, it is also considered traditional or authentic to add salami.


3. One of the most popular variations is the medianoche, my favorite way to eat a Cuban sandwich. Medianoche is the Spanish word for "midnight", and as the name suggests, people would often have it as a midnight snack coming back from a night of dancing or after a movie. The medianoche is sometimes smaller, and the only real difference is the use of a sweet yellow egg bread (similar to challah). Some online Latin grocery stores sell medianoche bread.


Cuban Sandwich picture

4. You can purchase an electric sandwich press online. Don't use a panini grill. They don't heat the sandwiches evenly, and a real Cuban sandwich doesn't have those little lines grilled into the bread.


I buy my sandwich presses from the Cuban Food Market. Best of all, I can use them for any type of pressed sandwich.


5. Always try to use slow-roasted pork. But if you don't have much time to cook, many supermarkets sell a pre-cooked roasted pork such as Hormel Pork Roast Au Jus in their refrigerated meat section. Simply heat it up, then slice it.


6. If you don't have time to bake bread, you can buy fresh French bread. But there are also websites that sell actual Cuban bread from Miami, click here to see what is available for purchase online.



Sandwich Cubano

Cuban Sandwich Pictures


I found this terrific article on the "Off The Broiler" website of how a Cuban Sandwich is made. Although the recipe used is a bit different than the one above, these are still excellent photos. They also have a review of a Cuban diner in Miami, along with great photos of sandwiches.


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