And to follow up Hillary’s seriously cheesy croque monsieur – the Cuban. Get that oven blazing and ready a pork loin – this is one sinful sandwich (notice it’s categorized as a vice). Pressed between sweet onion bread (I couldn’t find the traditional “cuban” bread the sandwich is usually made with) are layers of roasted pork, swiss cheese, more pork (ham), pickles, mayo…only the good stuff.
Upon doing a little research “the Cuban” was once a lunch staple for Cuban workers in cigar factories and sugar mills. Immigrants (thankfully) brought this combo stateside in the early 1900s.
I first had a Cuban at a little restaurant in the Caribbean where boaters stopped in to refuel and grab some provisions (aka stock up on beer and rum). It was a perfect pressed combo of meat, cheese and a little something extra – dill pickle and a kick of yellow mustard. Just what the doctor ordered after a taxing day of relaxation.
Roasting a pork loin yourself really is quite simple and it’ll give your sandwich that extra umph. I surrounded it with a Cuban-inspired pan sauce which keeps it extra moist and lends a citrusy-herb flavor.
Roast Pork Loin:
2 lb. pork loin
2 T olive oil
1/2 large onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T dried oregano
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
+ a touch of oil for searching the loin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Ready a roasting pan – I used a cast iron pan for both the searing and roasting the meat – or saute pan for searing the pork loin – set it over low to medium heat until it is very hot. In another pan saute the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic. Once aromatic add the juices and oregano, season with salt. Allow it to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or so for flavors to blend. While it’s cooking, season the pork loin liberally with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides in the hot pan for a minute or so until you have a nice brown crust. Pour the sauce over the pork in the pan and place in the oven. Roast for about 45 minutes or until a thermometer reads 140-145 degrees. Cover with foil and let rest while you gather the other sandwich fixin’s.Sandwich Fixins (per 1 sandwich):
1 loaf or roll of sweet bread (I found a braided onion roll that looked lovely)
2 slices swiss cheese
2 slices ham
3-4 slices roasted pork
3 dill pickle spears – sliced thin
Toast the bread face up in the oven. Next lather the bread with mayo and mustard. Top with the ham, dill pickle spears, pork roast slices and swiss cheese. Place in the hot oven to melt the swiss cheese. This is a pressed sandwich so once the cheese is almost melted put the sandwich together and press with either a panini press (all the rage to have one of these bad boys…) or do as I did… put a piece of foil under the hot cast iron pan (careful!) and leave it on the hot pressed sandwich until perfectly smooshed like so…Even though this sandwich may take a bit more time than the average cold cut it’s COMPLETELY WORTH IT! The pork! The pickles! Need I go on!?
Some say the traditional cuban also contains salami…I’ll let you decide how many pork products you want (or need) between two slices of bread. I’m sure it’s a “the more the merrier” situation…either way, enjoy!