When it comes to sandwiches, there is a variety to choose from. Some people love Grilled Cheeseothers prefer Veggie. Some like Roast Beef and Cheddar, while others LUV the BLT. Some eat up Reuben’s, or prefer their rhyming counterpart: the Cuban. For the latter lovers, the country of Cuba is to thank.
The source of the Cuban sandwich is somewhat disputed: it was created in Cuba or in the Cuban community of Ybor City, Florida. From the early 20th century, it appeared in both regions and both claim to have been the inventor. While this sounds a little like Al Gore stating he invented the world wide web, both Cuba and Ybor City may have valid claims.
During this time frame, people traveled regularly and easily between Florida and Cuba. Many Cubans traveled to Florida for employment opportunities and back to Cuba for familial obligations. Thus, when Cuban sandwiches surfaced at sugar mills in Cuba and cigar factories in Ybor City, it was difficult to pinpoint the creator. It is most likely that they did look in both places at relatively the same time.
No matter where it was created, its popularity has spread like mayonnaise, especially through Florida. Key West, Tampa Bay, and Miami are all cities known for great Cuban sandwiches, though some regions deviate from the title, calling them”Mixto sandwiches” or”Cuban Pressed Sandwiches.”
Like its birthplace, the ingredients in a real Cuban sandwich will also be somewhat contested.
In conventional Miami creations, sandwiches are made with Cuban bread, a type of bread made with lard in lieu of oil. The bread is cut into lengths between eight and twelve inches, the crust is buttered, and the sandwich is sliced in half. Mustard and dill pickles are added as well as layers of glazed ham and Swiss cheese. Roast pork is also added: this is the ingredient which helps set Cuban sandwiches apart from regular old ham and cheese.
In order to be a real Cuban, the roast beef has to be dipped in a vanilla and citrus marinade called mojo. After all of the ingredients have been added, the Cuban is toasted in a press until the cheese melts and the bread is crispy.
In Tampa bay, the above does not make the sandwich complete, not, at least, until Genoa salami is added. It is thought that the addition of Genoa salami comes from the melting cultural pot in Ybor City, a city that includes a mix of those from Spain, Cuba, and Italy.
In Key West, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise are added to the Cuban. But many traditionalists argue that these additions induce the sandwich to reduce its authenticity.
Some other closely related sandwiches are those made in the northern United States, which replaces the Cuban bread with Panini bread. A sandwich available in Cuba, known as medianoche (meaning”Midnight”), is similar to the Cuban, but it utilizes bread made from soft egg dough. It’s known as a”midnight” because of its popularity following the pubs and nightclubs close. In other words, it’s like Taco Bell in America.