Friday, June 8, 2012

The Cubano sandwich goes uptown

So what do you do when you have five delicious smoked pork tenderloins and not enough mouths to finish them off? Well, you give some away to friends and family -- then you think up a clever ways to use the leftovers. In my case, this means a twist on a classic street food: the Cubano sandwich.

A Cubano is usually made up of a couple of slices of pork loin, some ham, cheese, and pickles with mustard on a fresh white bun. Yah - it's tasty, but given its All-Star ingredients (two types of pork man!) I always felt it under-performed a bit. With one pork loin leftover from my experiment a few weeks back sitting in the freezer I figured I'd use it as the base for my own spin on the Cubano classic.  

Instead of ham I substituted pancetta, which I cooked up in a grill pan:   

Stepping in for the pickle slices was some raddichio, which I grilled as well to take away some of its bitterness.

Next I whipped up  a quick garlic mayo and slapped it all together in a fresh whole-wheat bun. Add a salad (my wife's idea) and a rhubarb soda (my wife's good idea) and there you have it: the Uptown Cubano:

Oops -- forgot the token pickles on the side. Let's try that again.... 

I demand my close-up!:

Humility aside (y'know, because I'm known far and wide for being humble) this is a really, really good sandwich: it's succulent, salty, sweet, garlicky --- and I even forgot to add the avocado which my wife insists would have made this nosh a true All-Star. The Steve Nash of sammys!

Here's the recipe:

Uptown Cubano Sandwich 

One crusty soft white(ish) bun
Three slices of smoked pork tenderloin (recipe here)
Two slices of crispy pancetta
Sliced radicchio
One ripe avocado 
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1- 2 Garlic cloves (to taste)

1) Make garlic mayo: chop garlic very fine and mix with about 1/4 cup mayonnaise. Let site for 15 min.
2) Grill pancetta on a grill pan or BBQ; set aside.
3) Slice Radicchio (including core) into 1/2 inch slices. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
4) Grill on a grill pan or BBQ until soft and showing grill marks.
5) Slice avocado.
6) Sandwich assembly:
Slice the buns, spread on garlic mayo to taste, add pork, pancetta, radicchio and avocado.
Serve with a pickle on the side, and a lightly dressed green salad.

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