The sandwich is not a hard concept to grasp. You have two slices of bread, one on the bottom, one to cover the top once you’ve added everything you like. I could not see any normal, rational person only adding ingredients to one side and not the other, or only including half the sandwich with ketchup and the other half mustard. I could even understand the bottom or top piece of bread that is spread with mustard, and the other with ketchup, but you would never divide it down the middle. Right? So why would I ever get a Cuban sandwich like this pictured below…
Half a slice of ham on one half of the bun? One pickle in the corner of the sandwich? If you are going to skimp on ingredients to save money, or even if you are just lazy, please, at least distribute the items evenly. Am I crazy or is that a fairly logical unspoken given when you go out to a restaurant named “Havana” and are charging $9 for a sandwich, it should be made right even if not 100% authentic? Did I mention no mustard? Any recipe I looked up online included mustard. Some people don’t like it, and that is fine, but at least offer it on the side, I would think that condiments like mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and/or any other kind of sauce is a given when you say “sandwich”.
While most of us know how to make a sandwich, there are apparently many in the restaurant and food service industry that do not. So here are some basic tips:
- Other than the bread being fresh, make sure its at least warm, never cold, especially if the original is panini style (hot pressed)
- Place ingredients on the bread so there is at least a taste of each ingredient even if in tiny bites
- Evenly distribute all ingredients, including condiments.
- Make sure its never a sloppy mess. If its a Sloppy Joe, or if its named “sloppy” ok, but otherwise, provide a neatly packaged sandwich of ingredients that is easy to pick up with the hands and bite into.
Is this really so hard? I know lunch is a tough business, you have to rush to get food out quickly at an economic price and still take a cut in cost from the dinner menu. But if that is the case, why not have some staff get there an hour earlier to construct the lunch special sandwiches properly? Its not like it has to be cooked, you just have to assemble it properly!
Ok, so here is how the Cuban Sandwich should go down:
- 6-7″ Soft hoagie or sub roll, sliced in half down the middle
- Mustard evenly spread on the top half of the bread
- Swiss or Provolone cheese on top of the mustard
- Baked ham on top of the bottom half of the bread
- Roast pork and/or shredded rost pork on top
- Top with sliced pickles.
- Press together, put in a panini press, or put on the grill with weighted cast iron pan or anything to press it down and melt the cheese inside.
Did I really have to write a recipe for this? Should I have just said “grilled cheese with pork on a hoagie roll” ? I guess I did, because I can’t seem to find this out at any of the “authentic” places I tried to get a Cuban Sandwich. Take a look at what another non-Cuban place created, but see how it far exceeds what you see above. Yes, they use focaccia, and its not pressed or grilled but you can clearly see the mustard seeds, sliced pickles, house-cured ham and roast pork, with cheese on the bottom. The irony is this sandwich at a craft pub with meats cured and prepared in-house, cost the same as the “authentic” place a few towns over. This isn’t rocket science, please, help me patronize your food establishments. Don’t be lazy, don’t be cheap, just know I am hungry, I have money and even if its not authentic, I will forgive you if you’ve prepared it with care.