Food from the World: the Cuban Sandwich

The holidays are long gone and some of us want to recover from this heavy period of food and booze. So what better way to do it than to try out a Cuban sandwich: simple, delicious, easy to prepare and light. Perfect for simple dinner or snack that is guaranteed to offer you an amazing gastronomic experience.

But before getting the original recipe for this sandwich you should learn more about its history. Below you can find a few interesting facts about the origin of the sandwich and how to prepare it in order to enjoy its rich taste.

What You Didn’t Know About the Cuban Sandwich

Cuban-sandwich
Photo source: repeatingislands.com
  •  In Cuba this is known simply as sandwich taking into account that people there use local products in order to put together this amazing delight.
  • The tradition of the Cuban sandwich began in the 1500s using cheese and ham brought in by Spaniards.
  • The Cuban sandwich is extremely popular in Florida (only 90 miles away from Cuba). Why? Due to the effects of great depression lots of Cubans migrated towards Tampa, Florida and established there with everything they had: culture, customs and food.
  • In time the recipe has known lots of twists. For instance in Tampa the pork and ham are often replaced with mortadella or salami. Most Cubans find this wrong. Completely wrong!
  • By the 1930s this sandwich entered the menus of cafeterias and restaurants. Sugar milk workers in particular are very pleased by this sandwich. So pleased that this sandwich became a regular during lunch breaks.

Cuban Sandwich Recipe

4 slices of ham
4 slices roast pork
3 slices of Swiss cheese
3 or 4 pickle slices
Mustard
1/3 cut Cuban bread hard crust

How to prepare?

cuban-sandwich
Photo source: pixgood.com

1. Start by cutting the bread into 2 pieces lengthwise. Spread the mustard on both pieces and on one of them put the ham slices and cover them with roasted pork. Add the Swiss cheese on top and finish with the slices of pickle. Cover everything with the other piece of bread and start working on the sandwich press.

2. Butter the sandwich maker with some butter and place the sandwich there. Press it until the cheese melts and the bread becomes harder to touch. You know it’s finished when the sandwich is shrinked in half its original size.

Tip: Slow roasted pork is a better suggestion for a cuban sandwich. And if you don’t have time to wait it to cook you can buy this version from the supermarket. Heat, slice, add on sandwich and repeat.

Where to have the best Cuban sandwich in Tampa?

1. Gaspar’s Grotto –  it was named the best place with Cuban sandwiches by Southern Living and it received the first place at the 2012 Cuban Sandwich Festivals. You can find it at 1805 E. 7th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605 • (813) 248-5900.

cuban-restaurant
Photo source: tripadvisor.com

2. King Corona Cigarsyou will find it at 1523 E. 7th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605 • (813) 241-9109 and be sure you will love it!

3. Columbia Restaurant – here you will have the opportunity to taste one of the original recipes created by Casimiro Hernandez. The secret is to use similar proportions of each ingredient placed on top of one another. The contact details are: 2117 E. 7th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605 • (813) 248-4961.

Buen provecho!

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