Cubano Sandwiches with Mojo Sauce
Cubanos are traditionally sandwiched in a soft, sweet bread found at Cuban bakeries and then cooked in a customized sandwich press. In this version, an easy crowd-pleaser, you split large ciabatta loaves, layer the ingredients, flatten the sandwiches with your hands and bake them wrapped in foil. If you want to prepare the components in advance, you can cook the pork, let it cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days. The mojo sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead as well, and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.
For the mojo sauce:
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) olive oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb./500 g)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 ciabatta or other rustic loaves, each about 11 by 6 inches (28 by 15 cm)
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./120 g) sweet-hot mustard or honey mustard
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) thinly sliced ham
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 2/3 cup (4 oz./125 g) chopped dill pickles
To make the mojo sauce, in a blender or food processor, combine the orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, orange zest, oregano, cumin, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper and process to combine. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until a smooth, emulsified sauce forms.
Rub the tenderloin all over with salt and pepper and place in a glass baking dish or sealable plastic bag. Pour in 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) of the sauce and turn the pork to coat on all sides. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Cover the remaining sauce and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat an oven to 500°F (260°C).
Remove the pork from the marinade (discard the marinade) and pat lightly with paper towels. Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork and sear, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 155°F (68°C), about 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
To assemble the sandwiches, split the loaves in half lengthwise. Spread the cut side of half of each loaf with 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) of the mustard. Brush the cut side of the other halves with the mojo sauce. Cut the pork against the grain on the diagonal into thin slices. Lightly brushing each pork slice with mojo sauce as you go, layer the pork slices evenly across the bottom halves of both loaves. Top each with half of the ham, then half of the cheese. Scatter the pickles over the cheese. Replace the tops. Press each sandwich to flatten it as much as possible, then wrap tightly in aluminum foil, positioning the seam on top of the package. Bake for 5 minutes. Unwrap the foil just to expose the sandwich tops and continue baking just until the tops are crisp, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the packages to a cutting board and let the loaves rest in the foil for about 10 minutes. Unwrap completely and, using a long serrated knife, cut each loaf crosswise into pieces and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 12.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Good Food to Share, by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan (Weldon Owen, 2010)