Easy Paninied Cubans

dsc_1582RECIPE #355, DAY #534


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “The Cuban” from Alison Lewis’s 400 Best Sandwich Recipes

TIMING: 15 minutes, after the 1 hour to let the pickle sit


TOOLS: Panini press

COOK TYPE: Panini press, either electric or stovetop

HEALTH: It’s okay, but you’re going to need to eat some veggies and something fresh on the side. Like a an herby quinoa salad and a carrot salad.

EXPERIENCE: I have long wanted to try a Cuban sandwich. They just sound so wonderful and are so lauded. This version was a bit of a disappointment, but I can’t say that would go for all Cuban sandwiches. I mean, although this book gives me a lot of ideas, it is real hit and miss with the recipes. I mean, I know a Cuban sandwich involves a marinated, roasted pork, but I thought some lunch meat might still be good. I do think, though, that some sort of Cuban-inspired sauerkraut or pickled onions would really improve this version (even though that might be sacrilege).

On the other hand, my son called it (minus the pickle and mustard) the best sandwich he had ever had.

NOTES: This would not keep well, just like any other grilled cheese. They would be nice for a Saturday or Sunday lunch at home.

The bread that I found wasn’t quite right. This bun did okay, but it was not very authentic.

You could use yellow mustard instead of Dijon, and/or salami (Florida style) if you can’t get your hands on roast pork. The first would be more authentic, and the second would not.


  1. In a small sauce pan, bring 1/8 cup orange juice, 1/8 cup lime juice, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in 1 halved and thinly slivered onion. Allow to sit for 1 hour.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 pressed clove garlic, 1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano, 1/8 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 cup Dijon mustard. Set aside.
  3. Lay out 4 split hoagie rolls, open-faced. Spread all 8 with the mustard. On 4 of the buns, distribute evenly 8 slices of ham, 8 sliced roasted pork, 4 slices Swiss cheese, 16 slices bread-and-butter pickles, and a nice amount of the pickled onions. Cover with the other 4 breads and press down gently.
  4. Preheat your panini press. Meanwhile, spread the outsides of the sandwiches with 4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter. Place sandwiches in the press and press down. Cook until brown and crunchy on the outside and cheese is melted.


Serve with black bean soup and fried plantains. A nice, cold cerveza would be nice.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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