After returning from a long trip the last thing I want to do is cook. So we tend to eat out for several days until I have time to restock the pantry and refrigerator. Before leaving on our last cruise I had used all but a few frozen vegetables and one lone piece of meat in my freezer. Before heading out to do a general shopping I looked into the freezer and saw that the lone piece of meat at the bottom of my freezer was a pork tenderloin.
I stood for a few minutes looking down and thought, “Now, what can I do with this pork tenderloin that would result in an easy, delicious meal or two?”
I love roasted pork and I love Cuban sandwiches so I set about looking for an easy and flavorful recipe for the pork loin. I came across one in the June 1999 issue of Bon Appétit called “Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary”.
The recipe was a simple rub that sounded so flavorful (I love rosemary) that I had to use it. The pork was very tender and the taste a treat for the palate.
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 2 1/2 –pound boneless pork loin roast, well-trimmed
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°. Line 13x9x2-inc roasting pan with foil. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. Rub garlic mixture all over pork. Place pork, fat side down, in prepared roasting pan. Roast pork 30 minutes. Turn roast fat side up. Roast until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 155°F., about 25 minutes longer. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
Pour any juices from roasting pan into small saucepan; set over low heat to keep warm. Cut pork crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices. Arrange port slices on platter. Pour pan juices over. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
I decided to keep the rest of the meal simple by adding side dishes of green beans and egg noodles.
The next meal I wanted to prepare with my roast pork loin was a Cuban sandwich. So, the following day I went to the store and bought fresh, crusty Cuban bread and the other ingredients I would need to make the perfect Cuban sandwich for dinner.
I researched and read a lot of recipes for a traditional Cuban sandwich. For the most part they all call for slices of sweet ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard. There are, however, variations. I noticed that some restaurants add salami to their sandwiches; some do not put pickles on the sandwiches. So, in the end, as long as you have the core ingredients of crusty bread, ham, pork, cheese and yellow mustard you are good to go.
½ Cuban bread cut lengthwise
6 slices of Boar’s Head Tavern ham
6 slices roast pork tenderloin
6 slices of Boar’s Head Baby Swiss cheese
Yellow mustard (not spicy or Dijon)
I wanted to make sure that I assembled my sandwich correctly and found an informative and detailed description on a site called Eater Elements written by Hillary Dixler called “The Cuban Sandwich at Versailles in Miami’s Little Havana”.
As Ms. Dixler mentions in her post, the sandwich is, “Not fussy or modern. It doesn’t have a ‘twist’. It’s just a classic, simple sandwich…”
Ms. Dixler explains step-by-step how the restaurant assembles the sandwich and why each element of the sandwich is so important to creating an authentic Cubano. I followed these steps using slices of the roast pork I had prepared the night before and the other ingredients precisely as described.
I served these beautiful, tasty sandwiches with a small bowl of fresh fruit. The sandwich was delicious!
I loved both of these recipes so much I have added them to my ever-growing recipe collection.