Cuban Sandwich

I’ve eaten a lot of food in my life. Like, a lot. Before my diagnosis, I could have a 5 course meal and lose 2 pounds. It was amazing.

But I have also tried a lot of different cuisines. When I lived in Boston, I knew where all the good food was and it was all ethnic. No American or American bastardized ethnic food like tex-mex or what have you.

I’m always looking for that little hole in the wall that has the best _______ ever created. That’s the way I’ve been since undergrad. Hell, I planned my graduation for undergrad based on which restaurants we were going to eat at.

Mumika says I came out like my dad in that respect. Always willing to try something different and then introducing it to other people. Luckily Bryan is the same way. It helps when your husband is as big of a foodie as you.

My recent discovery has been the food trucks two towns over has been a beautiful experience for us both as we try different cuisines the food trucks offer. My favorite so far is a Korea fusion truck and their bulgogi tacos. Then there’s the empanada truck and another latina truck whose Horchata is amazing.

When I realized I was making Pernil for Christmas Eve, I immediately knew I wanted to make Cuban sandwiches out of it for the overnight brisket smoking. It was perfect as a midnight snack. And where did this idea come from, from one of the food trucks that made Cuban sandwiches of course.

Much to my amazement, Mumika had never heard of such a sandwich. How can she walking on this earth 27 years longer than me and never heard of such amazingness? I was baffled. I could claim it was the fact that she was in Puerto Rico during her teen and early 20’s. But that really isn’t reason enough. The truth is, Mumika is quite sheltered when it comes to food. It’s sad, but true. Don’t deny it Mumika.

When she took the first bite out of her sandwich, she raved about it. Then she went to the in-laws a talked about it non stop to my mother in law. Then she came over the next day and talked about it on the way to the mall. Then she talked about it at the mall, at the eye glass place, on the way home, and at my house. It was non-stop. It’s like nothing else mattered in life except this sandwich and that was all she wanted.

Unfortunately, Bryan was working on the tile in the kitchen so her dream of eating another Cuban sandwich sadly came to an end. Didn’t help that I froze the rest of the pernil later that night. I have all sorts of ideas for the pernil. All sorts of ideal.


Cuban Sandwich

4 ounces pernil
4 ounces ham
2 slices swiss cheese
yellow mustard
3 sliced lengthwise dill pickles
1/4 of a baguette


Slice bread in half lengthwise.

Place pickles on bottom piece of bread.

Put the pernil on top of the pickles.

Place ham on top of pernil.

Put cheese on top of ham.

Slather on mustard on the inside of the top bread slice.

Put top piece of bread on top of cheese, mustard side down.

There’s two way to make it: toast it in the oven by baking it at 350 for 10 minutes.
Putting it in a Panini press and toasting it that way.

Makes 1.

I didn’t use the tradition Cuban bread because 1) didn’t have time to make it, 2) don’t have a surface to flour, and 3) couldn’t find it premade anywhere.

You don’t have to use pernil, any left over pork loin will work.

What makes this sandwich amazing is how the tangy mustard plays with the saltiness of the pickles and cheese which ends up highlighting the pork and ham. The flavor profile of each part of the sandwich brings something to the table and creates a yumminess that cannot be done any other way.

Is this a traditional Cuban sandwich, no. Does it taste amazing, yes. Next time I make it, it will be traditional to the core. What is not added to this sandwich I made is the olive oil and garlic that is brushed on the bread as it toasts before assembling the sandwich. But this sandwich is something you can make in a jiffy if time is not on your side and i’s very filling.


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