In theory, Cuban sandwiches should be a party hit. Packed with both roast pork and ham, melted cheese, pickles, mustard, and toasty, buttery bread, they're bound to please a crowd. But the lengthy prep time required (including slowly roasting pork shoulder), involved assembly, and pressing process make them a less-than-realistic option for feeding many hungry mouths.
Until now: This simplified version relies on a few shortcuts, including using quick-cooking pork tenderloin in place of traditional roast pork, and pressing all of the sandwiches between two large sheet pans, in order to make a big, shareable batch all at once.
Why It Works
- The mojo-marinated pork tenderloin takes less than an hour to roast, making it a quick and easy stand-in for traditional Cuban roast pork.
- Pressing the sandwiches between baking sheets lightly toasts them on the top and bottom and compresses the ingredients together so they hold up when sliced.
- Yield:Serves 5 to 10 people as a light meal or party snack
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:2 hours 30 minutes
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon (12g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium orange, juiced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- One 1 1/2– to 2-pound (680- to 900g) pork tenderloin
- 2 large loaves crusty bread (preferably Cuban loaves, about 16 inches long by 5 inches wide), halved lengthwise
- 6 tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (125g) yellow mustard, plus more for serving
- 1 pound (450g) thinly sliced ham
- 8 ounces (225g) sliced dill pickles
- 8 ounces (225g) sliced Swiss cheese
In the bowl of a food processor, combine garlic, salt, cumin, pepper, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and olive oil and process until garlic is fully minced. Transfer to a large sealable container and add pork tenderloin. Toss to coat, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 8 hours.
After pork has marinated, preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty foil. Top with pork and pour marinade over. Roast until the center of the thickest section of the pork reads 145°F (63°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
While pork rests, pour any excess juices into a small bowl and discard foil. Clean and dry the baking sheet, if necessary. Spread butter all over the exterior of the bread. Set bottom bread halves on baking sheet. Spread mustard thinly on bottom halves, then top with sliced ham.
Slice pork tenderloin into thin, 1/4-inch-thick slices. Layer pork tenderloin over ham and drizzle with reserved cooking juices. Top with pickles and Swiss cheese, then close sandwiches.
Place a second sheet pan over sandwiches and press down firmly. Place heavy, oven-safe objects, such as cast iron pots or pans, on top of the sheet pan to compress the sandwiches, then carefully transfer to the oven.
Bake until cheese has melted and ingredients have warmed through, about 20 minutes. Cut sandwiches crosswise into individual portions and serve with additional mustard, if desired.