F1 Food Challenge – Cuban Sandwiches

I have to admit, I was not exactly looking forward to this week. I know barely anything about local Miami food — slightly more about American food in general but I was stumped when it comes to Miami (given the slightly chaotic energy the entire Miami GP seems to be giving, I guess it’s kind of appropriate).

That being said, I vaguely knew that there was a large Latin American influence regarding the city’s food and culture, and looking into it more I found that in 2010 about 34% of the city’s residents were of Cuban background. Unfortunately I’ve never really delved into the realm of Latin American cooking: but at least now I had a clearer idea of what to do. After a quick google search (this was again, very last minute — I promise next time I will actually plan everything properly!!) I found a recipe for Cuban Sandwiches and Fried Plantain.

I was very excited about the plantain — my trainer at the gym has recently sold me on it and I’ve been looking for a chance to cook with some — but I know for a fact the plantain I used was not ripe enough. I didn’t have too much choice sadly so I went with it (for what it’s worth they were way riper than some I found in Tesco, which were literally green). Honestly, I thought it was nice! It definitely reminded me of fried banana but with a slightly more sweet potato-like flavour. I’ve been reliably informed that that means they were NOT ripe, so I’ll make sure to try some ripe plantain and update you on how it actually tastes as soon as possible.

The sandwiches were also nice, although for me they weren’t as unusual as trying the plantain was. Unfortunately — because it was last minute — there were a few ingredients I had to substitute, I used a plain white baguette for the bread, and had no roast pork to go with the ham. That being said they were still delicious, and whilst I probably won’t make them again I’m glad this food challenge has led me to make them.

The recipe I used for the sandwich can be found here and the plantain here.

Cuban Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • Cuban bread (or white baguette in my case)
  • Honey or maple cured ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • Dill pickles
  • Yellow mustard
  • Butter

Method

  1. Slice the bread into equal lengths, depending on how many sandwiches you want, and what length you want. Then slice them in half lengthways.
  2. Cover the outside in butter, and the inside in mustard.
  3. Layer the ham, cheese, and pickles equally in the sandwich.
  4. Place a large flat pan on a medium heat. Put the sandwiches in and use something to press them down — I used a plate with some tins of veg on top. Alternatively use a panini press.
  5. If using the pan, cook each side for a few minutes until golden, and the cheese has melted.
  6. Enjoy!

Fried plantain

  1. Heat up a frying pan with a lot of oil (you want to medium fry this).
  2. Chop one plantain into small pieces, a few centimetres in length.
  3. Fry these until they are golden brown.
  4. Serve with either powdered sugar or salt. Enjoy!

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