Cuban sandwiches - packed with roast pork, ham, pickles, cheese, and aioli - are a special treat. They're extremely tasty, but not very photogenic (so we've given you a photo of Havana instead). Now that we're on the cusp of restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba we predict a golden age of their namesake sandwich.

The recipe is a bit involved as you need to make the pulled pork first, them make the aioli, and finally assemble your sandwiches. But fear not, if you’ve got the time it’s not hard and it won’t disappoint. And it makes enough for friends and family to enjoy, too.

Pernil de Puerco (pulled pork)

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of salt per pound of pork
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp of oregano 
  • 2-3 lbs of pork leg
  • 5 bay leaves 
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 3 limes

In a mortar and pestle, add a little olive oil and then add garlic, salt, and peppercorns. Grind until you have a paste. Add cumin, oregano, crushed bay leaves, and the rest of the olive oil and the orange and lime juice. Stir.

With a knife make holes in the pork leg for the marinade to penetrate the meat. In a zip lock bag, put the pork and the mixed marinade in the refrigerator overnight.

Pour the pork in a crockpot and cook for 8-10 hours on low. After the meat is cooked, pull the pork and take out bones.

Salsa de Ajo / Lime Garlic Alioli

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 6 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of salt

Mix salt and garlic and then blend all the ingredients until you form a paste. 

Torta Cubana

  • 1 Large panini bread
  • Sliced cured ham
  • Shreded pernil de puerco
  • Salsa de Ajo / Lime Garlic Alioli ( To taste)
  • Yellow mustard (to taste)
  • Sliced pickles
  • Butter
  • Sliced Swiss cheese (to taste)

Slice panini bread in half and spread each side with some of the salsa de ajo and mustard. Then add a layer of shredded pernil, pickles, ham, swiss cheese, and mustard. On a preheated skillet, preferably cast iron, melt some butter. Add sandwich to skillet. (If you have a George Foreman grill, use it instead of a skillet and spread the butter on the outside of the bread before putting it in the grill. This provides pressure and heat necessary for a perfect sandwich.)

While in the skillet, use a lid to apply pressure to the sandwich, this allows the salsa de ajo to work as a heat conductor to the inside of the sandwich therefore melting the Swiss cheese. Once both sides of the sandwich and the cheese are melted the sandwich is ready to be cut and served next to some tostones (fried plantains).

¡Buen provecho! 

April 03, 2015 — Martin Martinez
Tags: recipes