After years of trying them, I have had very few excellent Cuban sandwiches. They always seem dry. My version here may not be traditional, but everyone likes it. I use soft, sweet challah bread rather than the traditional baguette-style bread. When you toast it, the sandwich still gets crispy on the outside, but the bread stays soft and moist inside. For a group of friends, split the whole loaf in half lengthwise and make one big sandwich on a large griddle or extra-large panini press. I’ll take those melters, Gruyère and Gouda, over dry Swiss cheese any day. And for the ham, I have no idea why people use the least flavorful deli ham available. A good Virginia-style pit ham — a little sweet and a little smoky — will never steer you wrong. Just don’t slice it paper-thin: It should have some chew when you bite into it. And for the roast pork, I use moist and juicy Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa. The signature flavor of mojo, Cuba’s orange and olive oil sauce, comes in the form of mojo mayonnaise. The mayo helps to carry those citrus flavors through the entire sandwich. — Kevin Gillespie, author of Pure Pork Awesomeness.
How on earth do you serve a pressed sandwich to a bunch of your closest friends for dinner? Unless you own a dry cleaner’s giant trouser press, you’re going to need to try it my way. The simple instructions below will allow you pack your leftover hams into one of my favorite culinary forms — the casserole!