This is my favorite sandwich in the whole entire world. Someone go ask that sandwich guy on Next Food Network Star if he can come up with a better one (okay, is anyone else watching this season? Who will win? Oops, I digress). To start, Cuban sandwiches are awesome to begin with. I mean, any variation on ham and cheese has to be good right? Well I did a little spin on the Cuban by rubbing the pork tenderloin with a spice mixture and making a homemade fennel seed bread to go with it since fennel goes absolutely beautifully with pork. This sandwich is crispy, cheesy, meaty, it’s got the salty crunch from the pickles, the juicy tomatoes, well heck, it’s got everything. Here’s the recipe:
4 fennel seed bread rolls, recipe below
1 lb pork tenderloin
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp light brown sugar
4 tsp coarse ground mustard
½ lb Swiss cheese (about 8 slices)
½ lb black forest ham
8 dill pickle slices
8 slices of tomato
1 cup arugula leaves
salt and pepper
butter or oil for the panini press
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat up an ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat.
Rub the pork tenderloin with 1.5 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp pepper. Whisk together the cumin, coriander, thyme, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar to combine, then rub it all over the pork.
Once the cast iron skillet has heated up, sear all sides of the pork tenderloin for 5 minutes, until browned. Pop the pan into the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the interior reaches 150 degrees F. Cool on a wire rack, and let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Once cooled, slice the pork on a bias into thin slices.
Slice the rolls in half, and spread 1 tsp of mustard on each roll. Place 1 slice of cheese on each half of the rolls (the cheese protects the bread from getting soggy). Place 2 slices of the black forest ham on the bottom, then one layer of sliced pork tenderloin, 2 slices of tomato, ¼ cup arugula, and 2 pickles. Repeat with the remaining 3 sandwiches.
Heat up a panini press to high, and rub the surface with the oil or butter. Press the sandwiches for 10 minutes until golden brown and crusty, and serve.
Homemade Fennel Seed Bread
Make this easy on yourself and make the no knead A Bread Recipe for Those Who Don’t Know How To Boil Water and just add 2 tsp fennel seed to the dough before you go to bed. Easy and relatively work free!