A Cuban sandwich (Spanish: Sándwich cubano) is a variation of a ham and cheese sandwich that likely originated in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Tampa or Key West, two early Cuban immigrant communities in Florida centered on the cigar industry. Later on, Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it to Miami, where it is also very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread. Salami is included in Tampa, where there is a large Italian population, but is not usually included in South Florida. The Cuban sandwich is at the center of a long-running friendly rivalry between Miami and Tampa. As part of that rivalry, the "Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich" was designated the "signature sandwich of the city of Tampa" by the Tampa City Council in 2012.
Cuban Roast Pork:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Remove lid from the pork and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 225°F and roast until the meat is soft and you can pull it apart easily with a fork, about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Baste occasionally while roasting. I roasted mine to an internal temperature of 175°F. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Optional Roasted Garlic and Carmelized Onions:
- To caramelize onions, heat remaining olive oil in frying pan and cook chopped onions on low heat, usually at least 30 minutes. Don’t stir too often. Once caramelized, remove and set aside.
- Cut Cuban bread lengthwise and slather one side with the garlic-infused mustard. Layer thinly sliced ham, roasted pork, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and pickle slices.
- Spread butter on the outside of the Cuban bread before topping on assembled sandwich and cooking in a Panini press. Once outside is crisp, turn over and cook on the other side.
- You don't want you pan so hot that your bread burns but it needs to be hot enough to melt your cheese. Cook until the bread is golden brown.
- Slice the sandwich diagonally and serve immediately.
We like to get these from The Mexican Bakery in San Jose, California when we are there. Otherwise we might vary the style and ingredients like adding roasted garlic and sauteed onions.
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