Instead of a traditional Cuban Sandwich, I swapped out the bread and created this flavorful, cheesy Ciabatta Cubano Sandwich. Same flavorful filling, but with an easier bread to locate far, far from the Caribbean.
Ciabatta Cubano Sandwich Recipe
I’d been dying to make a Cubano sandwich for years. Ever since we ate at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Florida, years ago. Obtaining a loaf of Cuban bread was holding me back. That is, until I decided what the heck, I’ll just wing it with what I can find. So ciabatta it was!
Purists will certainly gasp, but short of baking my own loaf, I was resigned to not finding “exotic” ingredients in my Midwest hometown. So a ciabatta Cubano sandwich recipe was born.
The Traditional Cuban Sandwich vs a Ciabatta Cubano Sandwich
An authentic Cuban sandwich is made on a specialized bread with a crisp exterior and soft interior, which is then coated with mustard, layered with cheese, pickles, ham, roast pork, then another layer of cheese. This sandwich is then pressed and grilled to perfection!
After marinating a pork shoulder with orange and lime juices, garlic, cumin and oregano, it was roasted until it was fork tender. After it cooled, I pulled out my panini press and gathered the Cubano sandwich ingredients.
Piping hot, with cheese oozing out the sides, I couldn’t wait to take a bite. I was not disappointed. All the delicious flavors danced together beautifully. I was still smitten. So was the hubby, though I saw him pull out the garlic dill pickle slices. Those sweet midgets he’s so fond of just wouldn’t work in these sandwiches….or maybe I should try them next time???
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Cuban Roast Pork:
- 3 pound pork shoulder roast
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread
- 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 pound sliced deli ham
- Sliced garlic pickles
- 1/4-1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese (I used 1/4 pound)
Combine the garlic, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Place the pork and marinade in a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight, flipping a few times.
To roast, preheat oven to 275°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place pork plus some of the marinade on the pan and fold up the top layer of foil, crimping the edges together while leaving an air pocket inside the foil. Place in oven and roast for 3 hours.
At the 3 hour mark, open the foil, and set the oven to 325°. Roast 2-3 more hours, basting on occasion until the meat is fall apart tender. Remove pork from the oven and let the pork rest until it's cool enough to shred into bite-sized pieces, discarding excess fat.
To make sandwiches, cut the ciabatta in half lengthwise.
Mix together equal amounts of the mayonnaise and Dijon and spread on one half of the loaf. Top with a layer of cheese, then sliced ham, shredded pork, pickles, and then more cheese. Top with the other half of the bread.
Cut into slices and grill on your panini maker or cook in a skillet weighing down the top of the sandwich with a cast iron pan or another weight. Sandwiches are ready when the cheese is melted and the meat is warm.
Roast pork recipe adapted from Serious Eats.
Save any excess pork for quesadillas, tacos, etc.
Serving Size:1 sandwich
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 897 Total Fat: 52g Saturated Fat: 18g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 201mg Sodium: 1237mg Carbohydrates: 40g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 5g Protein: 64g