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Grilled Chicken Cuban Sandwiches

Grilled Chicken Cuban Sandwiches
Traditionally a hearty combination of roast pork, Swiss cheese, sliced ham and pickles tucked into a soft roll, the Cuban sandwich is an edible icon of Cuban neighborhoods from Havana to New York and beyond. Large stacks of sandwiches stand ready on counters in coffee shops and restaurants, only to be depleted completely by the end of the lunch hour. The packed rolls are grilled in a sandwich press, which heats them through and toasts the outside. This version is lighter and quicker, with the marinade doing double-duty as a condiment. This recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma Collection Series.

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed through a press
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves,
      each about 6 oz., lightly pounded to an
      even thickness
  • 4 slices boiled ham or turkey ham, 1/8 inch
      thick, trimmed to fit chicken breasts
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, 1/8 inch thick, trimmed to
      fit chicken breasts
  • 4 oblong soft sandwich rolls, halved lengthwise
  • Sweet pickle slices for serving

Directions:

To make the marinade, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice and zest, garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer half of the mayonnaise mixture to a shallow glass dish. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate the remaining mayonnaise mixture until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, build a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill with a cover and let burn until the coals are covered with white ash. Leave the coals heaped in the center of the grill; do not spread out. For a gas grill, preheat on high, then reduce the heat to medium.

Lightly oil the grill rack. For a charcoal grill, place the chicken breasts directly over the coals. Grill, turning once, just until seared on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the perimeter of the grill rack, not directly over the coals. Cover the grill and cook until the chicken breasts feel firm when pressed in the centers, about 10 minutes. Cover each breast with a slice of ham and a slice of cheese and cook until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. For a gas grill, cover and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes total, adding the ham and cheese during the last minute.

Meanwhile, spread the rolls with the reserved mayonnaise mixture. Fill the rolls with the chicken breasts and pickles. Press the sandwiches together firmly. Return to the grill and cook, turning once, until the rolls are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes per side. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve hot.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Simon & Schuster, 2001).