Saturday, September 24, 2016

What Makes a Sandwich?

Cuban Sandwich
Did you ever hear of a Spaghetti Sandwich?  How about a Chip Sandwich (aka Chip Butty or French Fry Sandwich)?  These used to be food staples on British film sets—served to starving actors and crew members, often during shoots in the middle of the night. 

Then there’s the Sugar Sandwich, which I banned in my kitchen after looking at my daughter’s friend’s teeth.  Sugar sandwiches (white bread and butter, covered with a sizable amount of white sugar, topped with another layer of bread and butter) had eroded them into pegs.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tuna Salad Sandwiches—the staples of my youth—seem a little tiresome these days.  But I don’t know if I’m ready to get out the bread and build a sandwich out of crushed potato chips, Oreo cookies, rice, maple syrup or potato salad--all items people have mentioned that they like in sandwiches.  The worst idea, though, is the peanut butter/jelly/mustard combo.

On a recent trip to Boston, of all places, I discovered the Cuban Sandwich and fell in love.  It reminded me a little of a Reuben Sandwich (corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye bread, serve hot).

Cuban Sandwiches are easy to make, although they require some slices of roast pork—not an ingredient most people keep on hand.  Possibly harder to find is Cuban bread, which resembles a French baguette but is soft in the middle.  I used soft rolls instead.  

My version of this sandwich is not exactly like the real thing, but it’s good in its own way.
Cuban Sandwich – makes 3 
3 tablespoons mustard 
1/2 pound roasted pork tenderloin, cut in 1/4-slices (see recipe here 
1/4 pound thinly sliced deli ham or turkey 
1 cup grated Gouda cheese or 3 large slices Swiss cheese 
2 dill pickles, sliced thinly 
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil 
Slice the buns through the middle and spread mustard thickly onto the cut sides.  If you have a loaf of Cuban bread, cut it into thirds and then slice each third through the middle and add the mustard. 
Place the pork slices, deli ham or turkey, cheese and pickle slices equally on the bottom half of the 3 buns and cover with the top halves. 
         

If you have a panini press, use it to grill the sandwiches.  Otherwise, add the butter or olive oil to a large frying pan and begin heating over medium high heat.  Spread the melted butter or olive oil around and place the 3 sandwiches in the pan.  
Cover the pan with a lid and, while pressing the lid down to flatten the sandwiches, cook for about 3 minutes, or until the bottom of the sandwiches have browned.  Turn the sandwiches over and cook for another 3 minutes. 
Remove from the heat, cut in half and serve immediately.

           For more recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"