BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – For those who feel like this Tuesday (August 23) is little more than an extended version of Monday, one national holiday offers good reason to beat the Monday blues and celebrate.
The United States uses August 23 to celebrate a sandwich that finds its roots in Cuba, the popular and internationally beloved Cuban Sandwich.
The dish typically features ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread.
While the identity of the meal’s inventor remains up for debate, many historians believe an early version of the sandwich was originally created over 500 years ago by the Taíno tribe in Cuba.
The tribe is said to have used fish and bird meat as a filling, which was stuffed between two slices of cassava flatbread.
Apparently, when Spanish explorers arrived in Cuba, their influence led to a few changes to the tasty dish, namely the addition of pork and a different form of bread.
By the late 1800’s and early 1900s, it is believed that Cubans who were frequently traveling to Florida brought the recipe with them. Apparently, as these travelers interacted with Florida-based immigrants from Italy, Germany, and Spain, variations of the Cuban sandwich were created that reflected the meats and flavors of their countries.
As of 2012, a friendly rivalry developed between Miami and Tampa, with each Floridian city claiming that the popular dish originated in their area and that their version was the better of the two.
Tampa rose to the occasion by designating the Cuban sandwich as the “signature sandwich of the city of Tampa.”
In any case, one way of celebrating the dish this Tuesday is to try and create a version of it using the recipe below, which was created by Felicia LaCalle and featured on NBC’s Today Show.
Ingredients for Cuban Roast Pork
- 1 (5-pound) bone-in pork shoulder
- 30 cloves garlic
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 3 cups fresh squeezed sour orange juice
Ingredients for sandwich
- 1 (8-inch) Cuban bread
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 8 pickle slices
- 5 thin slices salami
- 4 thin slices sweet ham
- 4 thin slices Swiss cheese
- softened butter
Preparation for the Cuban Roast Pork
1.With a knife, make inserts all in the shoulder to stuff the garlic in, stuff with garlic, then massage with salt and oregano and add the sour orange juice. Cover and refrigerate. Every two hours for 12 hours rotate the shoulder and spread the mojo all over the slits so it goes inside the meat.
2.Preheat oven to 300 F.
3.After marinating, place in the oven covered with parchment paper and foil and bake for 5 hours or until it falls off the bone.
4.Shred the meat once done and hold for the sandwich.
Preparation for the sandwich
1.Split the bread in half and spread the mustard on both sides.
2.On the bottom add the pickles, then the salami, then the ham, about 6 ounces of the pork and the Swiss cheese.
3.Warm a large cast iron skillet on medium with butter and start toasting your Cuban.
4.Place a clean plate on top and hold it down and apply pressure to emulate a sandwich press.
5.The sandwich is done when the cheese is melted.