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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Desi Arnaz

Early in the morning here where I live you will be able to find reruns of the I Love Lucy show. Over half a century after the show has been off the air there is a new generation watching the show. Today is the birthday of Desi Arnaz. Because of this I have decided to share a recipe that he would of taken pride in and enjoyed.

Desi Arnaz took pride in his Cuban heritage. This Cubano sandwich originated among cigar workers in Cuba and Florida.
 The sandwich calls for Cuban bread but it can be substituted with French or Italian bread. If the bread is a bit crusty on the outside and soft on the inside it would be closer to the traditional baguette.
Ham is found in the recipes and whether you use ham that you have prepared, baked and glazed or use a high quality honey ham the ingredient will be awesome
A Cuban Sandwich is traditionally pressed together with a press called a plancha. If you have a Panini press, use that. My family and I employed a George Foreman grill. If you have no press of any sort, use a griddle to heat your sandwiches, and warm a cast-iron skillet. You may press down on the top of the sandwiches with the bottom of the hot skillet.
For the Pork Roast (cook this the day before you want to make your sandwiches):
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup key-lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin
a small amount of additional extra-virgin olive oil for heating the pork
In a mortar and pestle push together the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. Whisk them into the key-lime juice and set the mixture aside.
In a small saucepan heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil until it shimmers. Whisk in the citrus mixture, and remove the pan from the heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
Combine the pork and the marinade in a plastic bag, and allow the pork to marinate for 1 to 2 hours. About 15 minutes before you want to finish the marinating process, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In an ovenproof skillet heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Remove the pork from the marinade (but save the marinade), and brown it as well as you can on all sides. (This won’t be easy because it has been marinated, but you should be able to get some color.)
Pour the marinade over the pork, and place the skillet in the preheated oven. Roast the pork for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and put an aluminum-foil tent over it. Let it rest for 1/2 hour; then cool it to room temperature and chill it overnight so that it will be easy to slice the next day.
For the Sandwiches:
enough Cuban bread for 8 sandwiches, cut into 8 pieces about 6-inches long each (I used long Italian rolls) and sliced in half lengthwise
butter as needed
yellow mustard to taste
1 pound roasted pork tenderloin (see above), cut into very thin slices, plus a little of its juice
thinly sliced dill pickles to taste
3/4 pound sliced ham (homemade or good quality)
1/2 pound thinly sliced Wisconsin or Vermont cheddar (for Lucy) or Swiss (for Desi) cheese
Butter both inside sides of the bread, and put mustard on one side. Drizzle a little of the pork juice on one side as well.
Assemble your sandwiches in this order from bottom to top: pickles, pork, ham, cheese. Put the two halves of the sandwiches together.
Heat your pan or grill. Place the sandwiches on it, and press down on them firmly with another surface (the top of your press or another hot pan). Heat until the sandwiches are depressed and the cheese is melted.
Serves 8 generously

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