My love for the Cuban sandwich started in Miami, many moons ago. In fact, upon arrival at Miami International Airport, before collecting my luggage and/or calling my friends, I’d make a stop in La Carreta, and pick up my Cuban sandwich (and my pastel de guava con queso, y un cafecito). And when I was leaving Miami, I’d do the same thing to get my last fix before flying.
My passion for the Cuban sandwich continues to grow and, mis queridos amigos, I’d like to share this affection with you. Now you’ve heard me talk about all different dishes being like blank canvases; the Cuban sandwich is no exception. The traditional version is made with ham, roast pork, pickles, and mustard y por supuesto, bread of substance. Today, my friends, I’d like to give a point from which you can improvise. The cousin of the panini is flexible, but these are my three cardinal rules for the creation of this treat:
1) The bread must be great!
You need bread with, as one fellow blogger coined it, “chewability”! You have to have something that has bite, and that isn’t too airy! It’s a kind of French baguette type of bread, but it has to have some density.
2) Condiments are key!
Whether it’s mustard, or a kind of chimichurri (personal favorite), or something in between, condiments add flavor and contrast to your Cuban sandwich.
3) Fillings should be fun!
The classic components are great, but the sky’s the limit! Marinated and shredded chicken with arugula, farm fresh grape tomatoes, Manchego, and some chimichurri (pictured here!) is a great combo! For vegetarians, garlic-marinated portobellos, with roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and cilantro pesto is also a wonderful layering of sandwich flavors. Again, friends, the play-with-your-food rules apply here as well!
For some other options and more inspiration, check out Maria Reina’s post on the Cuban sandwich!
And, of course, ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy!