A grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is popular in many places where Cuban immigrants live, a cubano is typically made with a type of soft, slightly sweet bread that can be purchased at Cuban bakeries. If you’re not lucky enough to live near one, you can substitute a baguette, a long Italian loaf, ciabatta or almost any kind of sandwich roll. You want the pork chops to be quite thin so that they cook through quickly. If you can only find thicker ones, halve them horizontally or use a meat mallet to pound them to about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness.
Quick Cuban Sandwiches
- 1 wide Italian baguette, ends trimmed
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 boneless pork chops, each about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
- 12 slices ham
- 8 slices Swiss cheese
- 1 cup bread-and-butter pickle slices
- 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) mayonnaise
1. Cut the baguette into quarters, then cut each quarter in half horizontally. Set aside.
2. Preheat an electric panini press on the “sear” setting. Brush with the olive oil.
3. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Grill the pork chops on the preheated panini press, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle, then cut into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Wipe off the panini press with paper towels and adjust to the “panini” setting.
4. To assemble the sandwiches, spread 1 Tbs. of the mustard on the cut side of each piece of bread. On one of the bottom bread slices, arrange one of the sliced pork chops, 3 of the ham slices, 2 slices of the cheese and a quarter of the pickles. Top with the top half of the bread. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to assemble the remaining sandwiches. Spread 1 Tbs. of the mayonnaise on the top of each sandwich.
5. In batches if necessary, place the sandwiches on the panini press, close the lid and cook until the bread is browned and the cheese is melted, about 4 minutes. Cut the sandwiches and half and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen