Monday, May 15, 2017

Desilu Sandwiches

Desi Arnaz was proud of his Cuban heritage so I chose to make a Cuban Sandwich for this post (also known as a Cubano or a Mixto (mixed) Sandwich.
The sandwich originated among cigar workers in Cuba and Florida. In the city of Tampa, where Cuban immigrants were joined by Italians, salami is included in the sandwich. Elsewhere the ingredients are roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and butter, all served on Cuban bread.
If you can’t find Cuban bread (I couldn’t when I set out to make this sandwich), use a French or Italian loaf; the bread should be a bit crusty on the outside but soft on the inside. A traditional baguette will be too thin and crispy.
To me the most flavorful ingredient is the pork so I roasted my own pork. Purists would probably bake their own ham with a sweet glaze, but I chose to purchase a high-quality honey ham.
The recipe below substitutes American cheddar for the traditional Swiss cheese in Lucy’s honor to make a Cuban-American sandwich. If you prefer to be authentic and use Swiss cheese, you will still be able to say you honored this actress with the ham!
A Cuban Sandwich is traditionally pressed together with a press called a plancha. If you have a Panini press, use that. My family and I employed a George Foreman grill. If you have no press of any sort, use a griddle to heat your sandwiches, and warm a cast-iron skillet. You may press down on the top of the sandwiches with the bottom of the hot skillet.
The quantities for the sandwich ingredients are really just suggestions. We used a bit less of everything (except the bread!) than I have required here. See what tastes good to you….

For the Pork Roast (cook this the day before you want to make your sandwiches):
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup key-lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin
a small amount of additional extra-virgin olive oil for heating the pork
In a mortar and pestle push together the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Whisk them into the key-lime juice and set the mixture aside.
In a small saucepan heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil until it shimmers. Whisk in the citrus mixture, and remove the pan from the heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
Combine the pork and the marinade in a plastic bag, and allow the pork to marinate for 1 to 2 hours. About 15 minutes before you want to finish the marinating process, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In an ovenproof skillet heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Remove the pork from the marinade (but save the marinade), and brown it as well as you can on all sides. (This won’t be easy because it has been marinated, but you should be able to get some color.)
Pour the marinade over the pork, and place the skillet in the preheated oven. Roast the pork for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and put an aluminum-foil tent over it. Let it rest for 1/2 hour; then cool it to room temperature and chill it overnight so that it will be easy to slice the next day.
For the Sandwiches:
enough Cuban bread for 8 sandwiches, cut into 8 pieces about 6-inches long each (I used long Italian rolls) and sliced in half lengthwise
butter as needed
yellow mustard to taste
1 pound roasted pork tenderloin (see above), cut into very thin slices, plus a little of its juice
thinly sliced dill pickles to taste
3/4 pound sliced ham (homemade or good quality)
1/2 pound thinly sliced Wisconsin or Vermont cheddar (for Lucy) or Swiss (for Desi) cheese
Butter both inside sides of the bread, and put mustard on one side. Drizzle a little of the pork juice on one side as well.
Assemble your sandwiches in this order from bottom to top: pickles, pork, ham, cheese. Put the two halves of the sandwiches together.
Heat your pan or grill. Place the sandwiches on it, and press down on them firmly with another surface (the top of your press or another hot pan). Heat until the sandwiches are depressed and the cheese is melted.
Serves 8 generously. 

No comments:

Post a Comment