A Pressing Matter

As we barrel toward the beginning of the school year and the practical end of summer, many of us are rushing to make sure school supplies are procured, picnics and potlucks are attended, and those last scraps of summer days are enjoyed. We're not looking to spend much time in the kitchen when we can be at a backyard BBQ, a picnic in the park, or a cookout at the beach. So try to focus on great meals that pack a lot of flavor without taking a lot of time. It's even better if they are portable:

Here's where cubano sandwiches come in. These babies combine everything from tangy mustard and pickles to salty ham and salami inside a crisp, warm bread roll that will have you wondering if you should take your next vacation to Cuba! What's really interesting about these sandwiches is that I adore the combination of all of these ingredients much more than any one of them by themselves. They really are better than the sum of their pieces! I often encourage you to play around with recipes and tweak them a bit. This time, stick with the recipe. Trust me.

What to have with a sandwich like this? Slices of cool watermelon, some kettle cooked potato chips, more pickles or maybe even some olives … your favorite cold beer. That's what I'd pack. And yeah, I said pack … these quick, amazing sandwiches were made to be enjoyed outside and we've got an ever-dwindling supply of summer days in store at this point. So make 'em, pack 'em, and find somewhere wonderful to enjoy them and someone at least as equally wonderful to enjoy them with!

Cubano Sandwiches

  • 2 ciabatta rolls, cut in half horizontally
  • 4 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 6 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
  • 6 ounces sandwich sliced dill pickles
  • 8 ounces sliced honey ham
  • 6 ounces sliced roast pork or pulled pork
  • 4 ounces sliced hard salami

Preheat a panini press to medium heat. Spread the bottom and top halves of the ciabatta rolls with the mustard. Layer the bottom and top halves with Swiss cheese. Layer on all of the pickles, ham, roast pork, and salami on the bottom halves. Close the sandwiches, pressing them gently together.

Press the sandwiches on the preheated panini press with a moderate amount of pressure until they are crisp on both sides, about 8 minutes. Carefully slice the sandwiches in half diagonally and serve them immediately.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

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