After about a century, the Cuban sandwich is finally getting its due respect. The sandwich was first developed in Florida for the purpose of feeding hungry cigar factory workers, and the cigars are probably more responsible for the sandwich’s namesake than any connection with the long isolated island nation.
What is a Cuban? It’s roast pork and ham served with Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles on big slabs of ciabatta bread. What makes this sandwich so tasty is the flash grilling in a Panini grill that melts the cheese and turns this sandwich into a toasted delight.
The Cuban has been circulating on the brew pub and steakhouse circuit for a few years now, but recently it has made the jump to fine dining, with some increasingly creative interpretations and presentations. The vitality of the Cuban, and its versatility, has endeared it to many chefs looking for new menu additions. Its simplicity is also a strength, giving chefs a strong foundation on which to develop their own masterpiece.
From a worker’s lunch to the Peninsula hotel, the Cuban has come a long way in the past 100 years, and the sheer pleasure of eating a good Cuban will probably ensure its continued presence in all kinds of restaurants for years to come.