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Smoky Cubano Sandwiches

Garlicky roast pork, popular at Cuban restaurants, makes the best filling for this hearty sandwich; or use smoked pork loin from a good deli or succulent roast pork from a Chinese restaurant. To ensure that the rolls toast evenly, slice off a thin layer of the top and bottom.

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  • Servings: MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

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  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 kaiser or hard rolls, trimmed and halved
  • Vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 16 thin slices
  • 1 pound roast pork, cut into 16 slices


  1. In a bowl, combine the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Spread 2 tablespoons of the fresh onion relish on each kaiser roll half.
  2. Set a large skillet over moderate heat and coat with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Place 2 roll halves in the skillet, relish side up, and top each with 2 mozzarella slices, 4 pork slices and 2 more mozzarella slices. Reduce the heat to low and cover each sandwich with another roll half, relish side down. Weight down the sandwiches with a medium skillet and cook until the bottoms are toasted and the bottom layer of cheese has melted, about 4 minutes. Turn the sandwiches, add a little more oil to the skillet and brown the second sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plates and repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 2 more sandwiches.

Suggested Pairing

The cranked-up flavors in this sandwich—smoky cheese, roast pork, onion and cilantro—call for a simple fruity-but-dry rosé or blush wine to play background. Top choices: De Loach White Zinfandel and the Sanford Pinot Noir Vin Gris, both from California.

Contributed By Published October 1997

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