Cuban sandwiches are a favorite in Miami, Florida, where the sandwich is purchased at restaurants or from street corner vendors. Although a Cuban sandwich is much like a regular ham and cheese sandwich, quality ingredients and the technique of grilling the bread until it’s golden and crispy makes the difference.
Begin with a fresh loaf of Cuban bread. Cuban bread is thinner than a traditional bread loaf, resulting in a slightly crunchy sandwich. If you don't have access to Cuban bread, then French or Italian bread, or even a hoagie roll, will do.
Use a bread knife to cut both ends off the loaf of bread. The remaining loaf, which will be used to make the Cuban sandwich, can be any size you like. Most people prefer their sandwiches about 7 inches (17.8 cm) long.
Stand the bread on end and slice the loaf in half.
Lay the sliced bread in front of you with the insides facing up. Spread about 2 tbs. of regular mustard evenly over the cut side of the bread top.
Place 8 to 10 thin dill pickle slices-about 2 large, sliced dill pickles-on top of the mustard. Place 2 slices of Swiss cheese on top of the sliced pickles.
Fold 5 slices of very thinly sliced Virginia or Black Forest ham, then lay the folded ham slices on the cut side of the bread bottom. Place 2 slices of roast pork on top of the ham, then join the bread top and bottom. Spread butter evenly over the outside of the bread.
Heat a sandwich press, panini maker or waffle iron turned to the flat surface. Although traditional Cuban sandwiches are made with a press called a plancha, most American cooks have to make do with other items. If you don't own a sandwich press, panini maker or waffle iron, place the sandwich on a hot grill or frying pan, then press the sandwich with a cast iron skillet.
Spray the sandwich press (or the substitute you've chosen) with non-stick cooking spray, or brush the surface with melted butter to prevent the sandwich from sticking. Grill or press the Cuban sandwich until the sandwich is brown and slightly crisp, and the cheese is melted, usually 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Remove the sandwich carefully. Cut the sandwich into equal halves and serve.