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Food writer Lou Groccia takes on the Cubano sandwich

  • Cubano, left, vs. Italian pork and broccoli rabe, right. Two great sandwiches, anyway you slice it. SUBMITTED PHOTO


Saturday, August 11, 2018

I came across a recipe for a Cubano sandwich from the movie “Chef,” and of course I had to try it. We were having company and wanted to try something different.

Simple, eh? Well, not really.

First, you have to treat the pork shoulder you just bought with a citrus marinade you made that soaks into the meat for 24 hours in the fridge.

Then you slow roast the shoulder in a 300-degree oven for six or seven hours.

Then you store the liquid that collected in the bottom of the roasting pan in the fridge overnight. This should yield about a cup of pork fat (lard) and about half a cup of pork juices. We’ll get back to the pork juices in a little bit.

When you are ready to make your Cubano:

Slice the pork thinly. Take the ciabatta loaf and slice it in half horizontally so you have a top and a bottom. The recipe calls for Cuban bread but good luck finding that around here. You want a bread with a crust that is on the soft side. I opted for ciabatta.

Slather the inside of the bottom piece with butter. Spread the top piece with your mustard of choice.

On the buttered piece place slices of deli ham, sharp Swiss cheese, the pork slices and sliced dill pickles (often called Stackers at the supermarket).

On goes the top piece of bread. Spread butter on both of the outsides of the sandwich.

Wrap in aluminum foil and grill the sandwich with a heavy weight on it, three or four minutes a side. Then unwrap and grill the sandwich directly on the heat.

And, of course, I got to thinking about that pork juice in the fridge.

So, I decided to pair the Cubano sandwiches with Italian pork and broccoli rabe sandwiches.

And, of course, I had bought two loaves of ciabatta. And some broccoli rabe.

I boiled the rabe, drained it, chopped it, then sauteed it in olive oil, sliced garlic and crushed red pepper.

When you are ready to make your Italian pork and rabe sandwich:

Take your ciabatta loaf and slice it in half horizontally so you have a top and a bottom. On the bottom piece douse the pork juices all over. Layer the pork slices, then the rabe, then sliced sharp provolone. Just a little olive oil and vinegar on the top piece will do nicely.

Then wrap it in aluminum foil and grill the sandwich with a heavy weight on it, three or four minutes a side. Then unwrap and grill the sandwich directly on the heat.

Both sandwiches were among the best all four of us have ever eaten.

Next stop: Fried bologna sandwiches!

— LOU

I ordered a Cubano sandwich when out for lunch with a friend, a while back. We split it. I think I was full for two days and probably gained two pounds. Those suckers are rich!

— LUCY