If you are proper foodie then a Cuban sandwich is on your radar – in fact, it is likely that a simple mention of this treat is enough to get the salivary glands revving into overdrive. If you are out of the proverbial loop and one of the deprived few that has never had the pleasure of devouring one of them, then you are about to learn about a Cuban delicacy that has become so popular, that in spite of there being so few Cubans or Cuban Restaurants on the South Coast, you will find the sandwich to is easy to come across.
So, that we are on the same page, let’s get to describing this bundle of happy in its classic form: it begins with a foot long section of Cuban bread which is a sort of cross between a traditional French baguette and an Italian bread. It features a crispy, toasted thin crust with a soft, flaky center that is cut horizontally, opened and given a light brush with olive oil and then tangy, yellow mustard.
Here’s where the magic happens – healthy layers of glazed ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, sliced dill pickles and a little more mustard are the standard. Put the halves back together and toasted in a plancha or panini press to get the turn the cheese in melty goodness and give the thin crust a little more crisp. Slice and share.
Well, maybe share anyway.
While traditionalists will blanch and balk at the idea, some folks like to add some lettuce, mayo, tomato and in Southern Florida where the sandwich is extremely popular, there will be the addition of salami. The sandwich is found wherever there are Cuban communities, like Florida, New York, or Chicago so you may find some variations. There can be quite a bit of debate on the proper way to assemble this sandwich and where it originated, which we’ll forgo the drama for discussing how good it is.
How good is it? Well, it’s here in greater New Bedford available in no less than 10 locations and not one of them is a Cuban restaurant, run by a Cuban, or has a Cuban serving you. It’s so delicious that it has sneaked its way on many menus and believe it or not, for the most part, the local restaurants are serving a pretty darn good sandwich.
In some cases, they might be considered blasphemous because they can stray from the traditional version, however, it’s still mouth-watering. Salami crept into the sandwich because of the Italian communities that neighbored the Cuban communities and we have other communities that would love to “get together” with this sandwich and make a contribution to it, e.g. Puerto Rican, Dominican, Portuguese, Guatemalan, etc. and it will likely change again.
Anyway, yada, yada, yada. I’m boring you and you’re here for the lip-smacking goodness, not my verbosity. So, if you have had a Cuban sandwich before and want to know where to get the best in the area, or I’ve piqued your interest to the point you want one, here’s where to get the best in the area.