Saturday, March 13, 2010

What's for Lunch: Cuban Sandwich

Most Cuban-Americans have at least one parent or grandparent who worked at some point or another in the "factoria." In our household it was my mother who took the bus at dawn every morning to the sewing factory. On a good day, she could pack a lunch with a leftover slice of Cuban sandwich.

A Cuban comes home from the "factoria" with a big smile on his face. His wife asks in spanish:
—How was your day?
—The boss told me I was sizzling!
—What words did he use? 
—You're fired!

Un Cubano llega a la casa sonriente después de trabajar todo el dia en la "factoria." La señora le pregunta:
—¿Como te fue? 
—Estoy muy orgulloso porque hoy el jefe me dijo que yo era la candela.
—¿Como te dijo?
—You're fired!

Soon after arriving in this country, the children were pulled front and center to translate. To our parents our second grade English was better than no English at all, but at seven years old, we barely had a grasp of our native Spanish! Ahh the frustration, the misinterpretation, the incomprehension, the futile attempts at communication. But alas, we had our Cuban Sandwich and we ate it too!


Cuban bread (yeah right, like we'd find Cuban bread in the middle of nowhere, we'll substitute with a French bread -NOT a baquette- or as in this picture home baked from a frozen bread dough)
Roast Pork (I made a Hormel boneless pork roast - onion and garlic flavor - threw it into a crock pot until done)
Sweet Ham, thick sliced
Swiss cheese
Dill pickles
Yellow mustard (optional)

To prepare the sandwich slice the bread horizontally and spread butter on both inside halves. Lay the pickles on the bottom half followed by a layer of roast pork, then ham and swiss cheese. You can spread mustard on the inside top half.  Close the sandwich, spread a little butter on the top and place it on a Panini press (okay, I know you don't have one, but I bet you have a George Foreman grill which works the same, if not then place the sandwich on a hot (not too hot) lightly greased frying pan. Place a heavy iron skillet on top of the sandwich to flatten.) The sandwich should be compressed to about 1/3 its original height.

Grill the sandwiches, until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden. Slice the sandwich in half diagonally and serve.


  1. Oooh! I'm so going to try this. I miss Cuban sandwiches and Medianoches, I'm a Nicaraguan in the Midwest (Indiana), but I lived in Miami for 18 years. I really enjoy your blog :) keep blogging delicious recipes (especially Cuban).

  2. Welcom Valeria. I'm one state over in central Illinois. I'm glad you like the blog. Check back soon, I'm always cooking!

  3. In St. Louis the closest thing I can find to cuban bread is the bread from Jimmy Johns. It has that pale light color and airy feel to it. To be honest, I've had trouble finding cuban bread even in N. Florida, let alone the Midwest.

  4. I agree. Jimmy Johns is the closest.