Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cuban-Style Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Traditional “Cubanos” are simple, tasty sandwiches made on Cuban bread usually filled with ham or other pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and yellow mustard. The sandwiches are grilled under a press to flatten slightly and melt the cheese, then served hot. Think panini.

If you can’t find Cuban bread, use sourdough, baguette, country, or any other crusty, good-textured loaf. Here, I used two types of sourdough, cutting 16 pieces about four inches long to make eight small sandwiches. Hearty eaters will want two, so this recipe can serve from four to eight.

Or, cut each in half after grilling and stack mini sandwiches on a platter to make 16 party appetizers.

Makes 8 small sandwiches

  • 16 small slices of crusty bread, about 4 inches long
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • yellow mustard, to taste
  • 8 slices deli ham
  • 16 very thin slices Swiss cheese
  • 16 small dill pickle slices
  • baby spinach leaves, to taste

Sandwich Bread 
Sandwich Toppings
  1. Lay the bread slices on a work surface. Brush 8 slices generously with olive oil and spread the other 8 with mustard.
  2. Top the olive oil slices evenly with ham (folding as needed), cheese (folding, as needed), pickle slices, and spinach. Close the sandwiches with the mustard slices and press lightly.
  3. Heat a grill pan (or large cast-iron skillet) over medium heat and brush with oil. Place 4 sandwiches in the pan and place a grill press (or another heavy skillet) on top to press them as they grill until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn and press until the other side is golden and the cheese has melted, 2-3 minutes longer.

Spread with Oil and Mustard 
Toppings Added 
Ready to Grill 
Beginning to Grill 
After Turning
 Transfer the sandwiches to a serving platter and serve hot.

Cuban-Style Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

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