My daughter is a huge fan of a local Cuban restaurant called Cuba Cuba about a mile away from our home. Every time we go she orders the same thing – a Cubano with a side of tostones and guacamole.
I’m so proud of her – she is in honors Spanish and really impresses me when she speaks Spanish. I wish I could say that I taught her Spanish, but schoolteachers are really who deserve the credit. She has been taking Spanish classes since preschool, and now she is going to be a junior in high school and taking AP Spanish.
For their Spanish final, students had to film themselves making a signature dish from a Latin country all in Spanish, and luckily for her she was assigned Cuba. And guess what she made? Yup, you guessed it…cubanos!
We had leftover cochinita pibil and her cubanos were beyond delicious and she got an A on her video! The recipe I’m sharing here today is a simplified version she made for the blog, but feel free to add leftover pork like cochinita pibil, carnitas, or sliced grilled pork.
A Cuban sandwich is a variation of a ham and cheese sandwich that originated in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Florida.
This variation is super simple – Ciabatta bread with yellow mustard, deli ham, swiss cheese, and pickles. Similar to a Mexican ham and cheese torta, but grilled and pressed in a panini press.
Bring Havana to your kitchen with this simple summer sandwich perfect for lunch or dinner.
Cuban Ham and Cheese Sandwich (Cubano)
- deli ham
- shredded pork or sliced grilled pork, optional
- ciabatta bread baguettes, 6 inch long, split lengthwise
- melted butter, for brushing
- yellow mustard
- Swiss cheese slices
- dill pickles, thinly sliced
- Heat a large cast-iron griddle or panini press. Add the ham slices to the griddle and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer the ham to a plate.
- Generously butter the cut sides of each baguette and toast on the griddle over moderate heat until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the baguettes to a work surface and generously brush the cut sides with mustard. Layer the ham, pork, if using, Swiss cheese, and pickles on the baguette and close the sandwiches.
- Generously brush the outside of the sandwiches with butter and set them on the griddle or press; if using a griddle, top the sandwiches with a large baking sheet and weigh it down with a cast-iron skillet. Cook the sandwiches over moderate heat until they’re browned and crisp on the outside and the cheese is melted, 3 minutes per side on a griddle or 3 minutes total in a press.
- Nutrition facts do not include shredded pork as this is optional.
Photography by Jenna Sparks