In the early 1900s, the Cuban sandwich (known as “a sandwich Mixto” in Cuba) became a popular lunch food for workers in both the cigar factories and sugar mills of Cuba. When Cuban immigrants came to South Florida, they brought their favorite sandwich with them. To this day, these tasty, toasted sandwiches have remained the favorite snack of Tampa and Miami.
But you don’t have to head to Miami to enjoy this Cuban favorite. It’s easy to make this popular pressed sandwich at home.
1 1-pound loaf of ciabatta bread, ends trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
4 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
8 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 pound thinly sliced baked ham
8 ounces roast pork, sliced
1/2 cup sliced dill pickles
Cut the bread in half lengthwise and place on a work surface. To assemble the sandwiches, evenly spread the insides of each sandwich with 1 tablespoon of the mustard and lightly butter the outside of each sandwich with 1 teaspoon of the butter. Inside each sandwich, layer 2 slices of the cheese, 1/4 of the ham, 1/4 of the pork, and 1/4 of the pickles. Close the sandwiches.
Heat your panini maker or sandwich press to medium-high. Place the sandwiches inside, press down, and grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, about 8 minutes. Serve warm.
Cooking Tip: If you don’t have a panini press, you can cook the sandwiches on a griddle or skillet. To create the “pressed” sandwich, place a heavy skillet on top of the sandwich and press down as it cooks.
Variation: Ciabatta bread is an Italian white sandwich bread. If you can’t find it at the bakery, use crusty sandwich rolls instead.