I’m still all caught up in my upcoming release of UNDER THE ASSASSIN’S MOON. So…when it came time to pick a recipe for today, I considered something Brazilian, since the bulk of the story is set in Rio de Janeiro and the Amazon jungle. However, the heroine is 1/2 Cuban–the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants. And I happen to really like Cubanos. I won’t get into the discussion of whether these delicious sandwiches are traditional Cuban or a creation from South Florida. Don’t care. They’re good. Also, I lean toward the Miami version rather than Tampa, because I’m not a fan of salami. Anyway…
YIELD: Makes 2 sandwiches
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
2 (8- to 10-inch) sections Cuban bread, split open horizontally (see note)
4 tablespoons yellow mustard
6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced dill pickles
8 ounces sliced honey ham
6 ounces leftover Cuban-style roast pork
4 ounces sliced Genoa salami (optional; see note)
2 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat a panini press or a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lay bread, open side up, on a work surface and spread the bottom and top halves with mustard. Layer bottom and top halves with Swiss cheese. Working only on bottom halves, layer on all of the pickles, ham, roast pork, and salami (if using). Close sandwiches, pressing gently.
2. Butter top and bottom of panini press and press sandwiches with moderate pressure until crisp on both sides, about 8 minutes. If using a cast iron skillet or griddle, melt half of butter in pan and add sandwiches. Use a second pan to press on them as the first side crisps. When crisp, flip sandwiches, add remaining butter, swirl to coat, and continue cooking while pressing until crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Slice sandwiches in half diagonally and serve immediately.
Panini press or 10-inch cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle
Cuban bread is a soft white bread made with lard. Look for it in Latin bakeries or groceries. If unavailable, use any not-too-crusty, soft white rolls, preferably with some lard or fat baked into them. Salami is a traditional ingredient in Tampa-style Cuban sandwiches, but can be omitted.
CLICK HERE for a step-by-step, and very entertaining, description of how to make a Cubano. As I mentioned above, Izeta Cordero, the heroine of UNDER THE ASSASSIN’S MOON, is half Cuban and was raised by her grandparents. Even though she’s a CIA operative, in the quiet times beween assignments when she’s curled up at home on the Outer Banks, Zeta would definitely make herself a Cubano. And trust me, Brody thinks these hit the spot. They can even make them when they’re motoring around on The Moonstruck. You only have to wait one more week to read their story. Just click on the cover to pre-order it now from Amazon!
Do you have a favorite warm sandwich? If so, share with the rest of us!