Sandwich making qualifies as cooking, right? I would think so. Some sandwiches aren’t even easy to make, but most are pretty much achievable with knowing extremely basic cooking skills. As kids, many of us tried our cooking artistry making simple sandwiches. If we include the making of the bread, then the level of complexity goes up, I don’t see many kids proofing yeast and kneading dough for 40 minutes 🙂 of course, I’m sure there are always some exceptions. Kids these days, who knows, they reprogram cellphones, hack websites, maybe they knead bread too. After an earlier post about boston butt, I was left with a ton of delicious meat. I found many uses for it but mainly I ate chunks of it cold out of the fridge. Until it came to me… cuban sandwich, that’s it!
For me making a sandwich is a quick way to enjoy a treat when time is limited and/or a craving is too powerful to resist. Generally, I like to cook other things, but a good sandwich can be a powerful statement and worthy having in your repertoire. They’re a great way to test flavor pairing as well, without the risk of ruining a time-consuming meal with guests at the table.. yes, experimenting should take place some other time I’d suggest. Been there, oh the flashbacks. Here in the states there must be hundreds of officially named sandwiches, most of them I don’t even know.
Here are my 5 favorite sandwiches in order of simplicity:
1. Unsalted butter and sprinkled white sugar on french bread. Cold. Absolutely delicious.
2. Nutella on french bread. Cold. Sexy.
3. French bread. Philadelphia cheese. Strawberry jam. Cold. Addictive.
4. Grilled velveeta cheese (roll your eyes all you want) York ham or Canadian bacon, and tomatoes. On white sandwich bread. Head turner and traffic stopper.
5. My grownup all-time favorite. The Cuban Sandwich. It’s like the perfect ham and cheese sandwich. Mayo (in this case I used my homemade aioli), yellow mustard (I’m a yellow mustard type of guy, but feel free to go french on this), york ham, roasted pork shoulder, pickles (one of the key ingredients really) on buttery white hotdog buns… yes, I’m aware of the proper cuban bread, and I love it as well, but pressed hotdog buns… are the best. Crumbly, crisp, and delicious.
If you are interested in the history of this epic classic, there’s always wikipedia 🙂
The making of this sandwich as you can imagine doesn’t really require instructions. It is a simple matter of getting the ingredients on the bread and then using a sandwich press… well, yes, press it. The cheese should melt, etc. But maybe a few suggestions, that I came to realize during the writing of this post and that aren’t necessarily depicted in the photos.
1. Spread mayo on one half of the bun and mustard on the other. Better layering.
2. Place a layer of cheese over the mayo and one over the mustard. The closer the cheese is to the bread, the quicker it will melt. If you layer cheese and pork first, the cheese will probably not melt as readily.
3. The rest of the ingredients can be added as you please.
4. Pickles, very important… well, sort of.. flat slices rather than what I used, which were similar to wedges. Flat slices won’t slip off easily when the sandwich is pressed. Also, I pat them dry with a napkin. Just because they might be too wet and make the interior of the sandwich soggy.
5. I don’t have a sandwich press, you can actually see the Lodge logo from my cast iron dutch oven burned into the sandwich, which is what I ended up using. I had one skillet on a burner, placed the sandwich on it, and pressed it down with the cast iron dutch pan, worked pretty well. Be careful when handling this contraption, is hot hot hot and you will need oven mittens or dry kitchen towels.
There’s something summery about a cuban sandwich, I don’t exactly know what it is, I guess it is the fact that it is simply a sandwich and those happen to be very convenient food during warmer summer days. But as simple as it may be, it packs so much wonderful flavor I’d have a cuban sandwich any time of the year. I can see a post on a thanksgiving variant coming up! take good care fellow food enthusiasts! Fun times of fall cooking right around the corner! It’s gonna be great.