Cubano, Sandwich Cubano, Cuban Sandwich, it’s a marvel, and one of The World’s Great Sandwiches. It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve been extolling its virtues for years. 27 to be exact, as I had my first way back in 1986, thanks to by good buddy and fellow cook (back then) John Lee .. He knew about them and turned me on to them, and it’s been a Love Affair with the “Sandwich” ever since. And speaking of the single word “Sandwich” this is what’s it was known of originally in Cuba, a Sandwich. in Cuba you wouldn’t call a sandwich a Cuban Sandwich or Sandwich Cubano, all though now some do, as the Cubans have picked up on the American and Cuban-American term for this wonderful sandwich the Sandwich Cubano.
OK, so what is it you say? Well, it’s a marvel and without question one of the World’s Great Sandwiches, right up there with; Pastrami, Roast Beef, Sausage & Peppers, the Croque Monsieur, and The Central Grocery Muffuletta. The Cuban Sandwich consists of; slices of Roast Pork Leg, Ham, Swiss Cheese, thin slices of Pickle and Mayonnaise on Cuban Water Bread. Some put on Mustard and though i love the stuff, for me it throws off the balance of the sandwich, but? Anyway, the main ingredient inside the Cubano is the roast fresh Pork Leg, a Slice of Swiss Cheese and some boiled Ham with a couple then slices of Pickle and mayonnaise please leave off the mustard. These ingredients go in-between Cuban Water Bread a long bread that looks much like French Bread, though a bit less crisp. Less crisp before the sandwich is made that is, as one of the great features of this wonderfully amazing sandwich is that once it is filled it is put on a plancha. This is an electric sort of grill, much like the modern day Panini-Press. The sandwich is put into this press for about 8-10 minutes until the bread gets a nice crunchy slightly brown crust. All the ingredients heat up nicely in the press and when it’s done, the maker cuts it in half with a nice angular cut, and Voila, get ready for one of life’s great culinary treats, The Sandwich Cubano.
When I started eating these puppy’s way back in 86, I used to eat them mainly at one of 3 places. The Casa De Jagua on Rivington Street in New York’s Lower East Side, another place around the corner on Essex Street which sadly no longer exists, and at Chelsea Havana (still open), another place my good buddy John Lee turned me on to. Back then, not many (non-Hispanics) knew of this great sandwich which was sold at Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican Diners (Loncherias), some would think of as Latin Greasy Spoons. It seemed as though Caucasians were afraid of these places, or whatever and would never set foot in them. I delighted in taking as many white-people as I could to these places, simply because the food and ambiance were wonderful and the prices quite nice. many have thanked me for doing so, and I say that the pleasure was all mine and always has been to turn people on to places, different foods, and to cook for them myself as well.
Even to this day there are still many who have never delighted in this great culinary marvel. percentage wise many more people have eaten Cubanos as compared to back then, but still there are many who have not. So all I can say is, if you’re ready this, and have never had one, a Cubano, “What The Hell Are You Waiting For?” don’t be left around, get thee to a good Cuban, Dominican, or Puerto Rican Restaurant, order a Cubano and enjoy. As Tony Montana would say, “The World Is Yours Chico.”
My Buddy Don Daniele at Home in Havana ..