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You’ve got to love a food underdog like the cubano, the Cuban sandwich made with pork, garlic, cheese, pickles, and more garlic. It was yards ahead in the pressed sandwich race, and miles ahead in the lust for pickles, and yet here it is in last place.
Ed Levine, the founder of Serious Eats, and his disciplined team of editors researched the cubano, canvassing the country, eating as many as they possibly could, and more than any doctor would recommend, until they came up with their own version -- the cubano mixto, which controversially calls for blade-end pork chops. Their hard work pays off with a sandwich that’s salty and tangy and just gooey enough not to feel indulgent.
For Serious Eats, the book, Ed and the gang repeated this exercise for many classic American foods -- hot dogs, burgers, doughnuts, and barbecue – giving us a travel guide and cookbook in one. Merrill and I are now in San Francisco, the book dog-eared and ready to lead us to monumental waffles.
Adapted from Serious Eats by Ed Levine
Makes 4 sandwiches
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup juice from 1 orange
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pound blade-end pork chops, bones removed (about three 1-inch-thick chops)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 4 loaves Cuban bread, high-quality hero rolls, or small ciabatta
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 4 kosher dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2/3 pound sliced cooked ham
- 1/2 pound Swiss cheese slices (about 8 slices)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Photo by James Ransom