Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Left-over Magic, Sandwich Cubano Style


As you can see, we're experiencing some technical difficulties here in Divaland of late. The focus on my camera refuses to focus, even on the ISO setting, and its frustrating the hell out of me. I had grand visions and plans of a beautiful Cuban Sandwich photo, yet you're looking at ... that. Ugh, I'm sorry. It may be time for a new camera. In the meantime, let's eat!

I took the left-over pork roast, sliced it thin, warmed it in the remainder of the pan sauce and set about creating my version of one of the world's most delicious sandwiches. The Sandwich Cubano is a brilliant combination of roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, piled together on Cuban bread and grilled until crisp and toasted. Traditionally, the sandwich is made on a sandwich press, called a plancha - which is similar to a panini press. The key to a really good Cuban Sandwich lies in the pressing; it allows the ingredients to fuse together while creating the much desired crisp exterior.

Needless to say, I don't own a plancha. Nor do I own a panini press for that matter ... but I made it work. I used my trusty grill pan, then weighted the toasting beauties down with a cast iron skillet and my tea kettle filled with water! As you can see, the results were magnificent.

There are probably as many recipes for tasty toasted treats as there are people to eat them. This is my version ...

Diva's Sandwich Cubano:
  • some thinly sliced roast pork, warm
  • some thinly sliced ham
  • some aged Gruyere cheese, shredded or sliced
  • some Vlasic Stackers Zesty Garlic sliced pickles
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Emeril's Horseradish Mustard
  • olive oil for brushing the pan
  • butter for brushing the sandwiches
  • some Cuban, Italian or French bread, or long sandwich rolls
Heat your grill pan over high heat until hot but not smoking.

Slice your bread or rolls lengthwise and spread a bit of Dijon mustard on one side and a bit of Horseradish mustard on the other side. Layer some thinly sliced ham on the bottom half of the bread or roll and top with some pickle slices. Layer some thinly sliced roast pork over the pickles and top with some shredded or sliced Gruyere cheese and the remaining half of the bread or roll, pressing down on the bread to flatten the sandwich. Coat the top of the sandwich with a thin layer of butter.

Brush the grill pan with a bit of olive oil to form a thin coat and place the sandwiches, buttered side down, into the grill pan. Weight the sandwiches down with a cast iron skillet, or what have you, as seen above, and grill over medium-high to high heat until crisp and golden on one side. Butter the other side of the bread or roll, then flip the sandwich and continue to grill as directed above until both sides are crisp and golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately!

The mustard is by no means traditional, that's my spin and I'm sticking to it. You certainly don't need to use two kinds of mustard ... but I happen to like the combination. Do as you see fit. As for the ham, any variety you like will do. Just make sure its thinly sliced. In this case, I used some roasted ham.

You may also have noticed a disparity in the breads. The round roll is whole wheat and, again, by no means traditional. That's my personal choice, I made the husband's on a small, sandwich sized, loaf of Italian bread. As always, the choice is up to you.

I'm well pleased with the results of both my left-over magic and my improvised sandwich press. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. The sandwiches were wonderfully crisp and thoroughly delicious. I can't believe I didn't try this sooner ... though you can bet we won't wait long before having them again.

Bon appetit!

21 comments:

words...words...words... said...

YUM. I don't like mustard, and this is the only thing I will eat mustard in. So high praise indeed. If you can get bolillo rolls or telera rolls, they are fantastic for this.

stephchows said...

LOL love the skillet and kettle! hehe. Don't you hate when your camera wont focus?? sometimes you are too close and if you back up it figures itself out. Hope you figure it out!

Fresh Local and Best said...

That is a very innovative method to make a pressed sandwich! I love the crisp crunchy exterior from this method. This is another must try for me!

danamccauley said...

You are a clever Diva indeed! Love your use of the kettle and an extra skillet to make a panini press. Smart. Smart. Smart!

Charmian @ Christie's Corner said...

I'm with Dana on the brilliance of your skillet and kettle solution. I've used my indoor grill as a panini press but it took a lot of strength and the results weren't as impressive,

Hope your camera woes clear up soon.

doggybloggy said...

this is divalicious and the diva dude must have been mighty happy

The Duo Dishes said...

That homemade press method looks just fine and dandy. As long as it works...that's our motto. The pickles and mustard on a Cuban are the best part. Sweet, tangy, good!

Heavenly Housewife said...

What a drool worthy toasty! Good on you for improvising a panini press. I hate buying gadgets for the kitchen that you only use once or twice because its so specialized.

Daily Spud said...

Nothing should ever get in the way of a good toasted sandwich and I love your improvised sandwich press Diva - it looks like it more than got the job done!

Maven said...

That sounds so amazing! I am absolutely going to try this.

Katherine Aucoin said...

That's a sandwich I could be serious about and who needs a panini press? I bet it tasted way better your way!

pixelgal said...

Once upon a time the food network was all about using what you have in your kitchen instead of buying new gadgets and filling up your cabinets with things you only use once. Then it got greedy. Thanks for bringing us back to reality. Sndwich looks great.

Chow and Chatter said...

oh these look great and I love the use of the kettle !

The Diva on a Diet said...

I'm thrilled to read that you all are digging the sandwich and my home-made panini press! Its the only way to go! Thanks so much for the encouragement, you guys are the best! :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Awesome! I hope you will submit this fabulous sandwich to my 5 Star Makeover this month - it's Thanksgiving Leftovers (just announced) and this is a perfect entry!

Miss Caught Up said...

Okay, NOM! That looks delicious! I'd make one if I had a grill pan... hmmm...

Laurie said...

Magic indeed! Love the Cubano! I almost ordered one for lunch yesterday, but I knew we were going out for dinner and that would be too much food.

So sorry about your camera trouble!

Catherine said...

I'm screaming with joy! Tomorrow I'll pick up a few groceries, and I shal have Monday's lunch!

Deb said...

Diva a Cuban worthy of Tampa's finest! You did good...

Stephanie said...

OMG, that sandwich looks fabulous. I absolutely love them when they are grilled up to perfection. :)

BTW you have an amazing blog. I just added to follow your blog. :) Cheers.

Tangled Noodle said...

Despite your uncooperative camera, this sandwich shines! I'm loving those grill marks and wish I could have a bite. Thanks for the tip for a makeshift plancha - the next time I make any kind of sandwich, I'm going to try this technique.