Picnic Fare: Make Cuban Sandwiches

Here in Atlanta where I live, there are fun neighborhood festivals pretty much every weekend in April.  We’ll be going to several in the next few weeks, and these are great sandwiches to toss in the cooler for snacking that is healthier, and cheaper, than your typical greasy festival food!

These Cubans are a great sandwich, especially for picnicking. They have no mayo, (or lettuce to get soggy) and are good either hot or cool. Plus, because they are pressed, they travel well too.

What you’ll need:

-Cuban Bread
-Roast Pork Loin*
-Ham
-Swiss Cheese
-Thin Sliced Dill Pickles (I like to slice baby dills myself for this)
-Spicy Brown Mustard
-Butter

*These Cubans are a great way to use up leftover pork loin. Roast a pork loin for dinner the night before, and make sure you have enough leftovers for this! To roast, marinate loin in mojo marinade (available in the mexican/ethnic aisle), then roast in the oven, uncovered according to package directions. (350 or so, until the internal temp is around 150. Let cool, then slice thinly.

Instructions:

Slice Bread in Half, length wise (i.e. cut open for sandwiches).
Spread mustard on both sides.

Layer on:

– Roast Pork & Ham(several slices of each)
– Swiss cheese (1-2 slices, to your taste)

For especially crispy pickles, slice baby dills into thin slices, and lay them out on top of the cheese.
And top your sandwich with the top piece of bread.

Now this would be a lovely sandwich as is, but it’s not truly a Cuban until it’s pressed. Traditionally a Cuban is pressed with a sandwich press called a plancha, similar to a panini press. You could also use a George Foreman or similar indoor grill.

BUT, if you don’t have any of these things, you’ll need a method to press them, and this way works quite well! First, procure a griddle (mine is a double one that covers two burners on the stove. An electric griddle or any flat stove friendly surface works fine.) Turn on burners to medium heat, and melt a little butter on top and spread around. Next add your sandwiches.

Now, find a large pan(I used a roasting pan) similar in size to your griddles, and place on top of your sandwiches. Now you need some weight. Conveniently enough, I had some small 5 and 8 lb weights for working out purposes, which were perfect for the job. Place the weights spaced evenly in the upper pan, and press down evenly. This amount of weight was about perfect.

After a few minutes, remove the pan, ensure the bottoms of the sandwiches are crispy, add additional butter if necessary, and flip sandwiches. Return top pan and press for a few more minutes.

Remove from pan, and either serve immediately (tasty warm!) or let cool, slice diagonally, and wrap in wax paper for your picnic. I like to wrap each sandwich individually, then store them all in a gallon ziplock.

This Summer Salad would be a great pairing with these sandwiches, and travels well on picnics, too!

Black beans and Rice are always a nice choice as well.

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