A Cuban sandwich is a variation of a ham and cheese originally created in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Cuba and in the early Cuban immigrant communities of Key West and Tampa, Florida. Later on, Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it to Miami where it is also still very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles, on Cuban Bread, a crisp crusted roll with soft interior.
When assembled, the sandwich is lightly 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 is crispy and the cheese is melted. It is usually cut into diagonal halves before serving.
Primanti Brothers sandwich:
Back in the 1930's, Joe Primanti opened a cart in the Strip District selling sandwiches to truckers on the go. It was decided that he should expand to a small restaurant on 18th Street. The hours were 3am to 3pm to accommodate truckers and the like. His brothers, Dick and Stanley, joined him along with nephew John DePriter who was the cook.
According to John, "One winter, a fella drove in with a load of potatoes. He brought a few of 'em over to the restaurant to see if they were frozen.
The sandwich consists of your choice of meats, provolone, tomatoes, french fries, and a vinegar based coleslaw (recipe to follow) on thick slices of french bread.
- 1 pound (about half of a medium-size head) green cabbage, shredded or finely chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
I think the overall favorite with the family and myself was the Primanti Brothers.. the tart slaw was a nice counterpoint to the lush meats and cheese, and the salty fries...and the tomato was just the icing on the cake.