The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. The loaf is sliced into lengths of 8–12 inches (20–30 cm), lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread. Then sliced roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly sliced dill pickles are added in layers. Sometimes the pork is marinated in mojo and slowly roasted.
When assembled, the sandwich can be toasted in a sandwich press called a plancha, which is similar to a panini press but without grooved surfaces. The plancha both heats and compresses the sandwich, which remains in the press until the bread surface is slightly crispy and the cheese is melted. It is usually cut into diagonal halves before serving.
Main ingredients: Cuban bread, ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, sometimes salami
A similar sandwich is the medianoche (“midnight”) sandwich as the name suggests, the sandwich originated as a late-night snack, likely in the night clubs of Havana. The medianoche contains the same ingredients as the Cuban sandwich, but is smaller and, unlike a Cuban, is served on yellow-colored egg bread which is softer and sweeter than Cuban bread.
Cuban sandwiches and variations are now served in various Cuban exile communities in places such as New York City, New Jersey, Chicago, and Puerto Rico, among others.