Today is August 23, 2021
Published 9:32 am Monday, August 23, 2021
NATIONAL CUBAN SANDWICH DAY
On August 23rd, celebrate a sandwich that originated in Cuba, but grew up in Florida. National Cuban Sandwich Day is a tribute to flavor found in a toasted pressed sandwich.
While the Cubano traditionally consists of ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread, restaurants and home cooks serve up different versions. While the sandwich alone may serve as a satisfying meal, some very flavorful sides complement this globe-trotting sandwich. Like any grilled sandwich, a creamy, dunkable soup makes the perfect complement. Consider making this delicious Smoky Roasted Corn Soup. Another favorite side dish is seasoned sweet potato fries.
The sandwich brings together flavor and history, too. By combining traditions from Cuban, German, and Italian immigrants, the sandwich offers a world tour of simple ingredients. If you’ve never had one, this is the day to try it.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalCubanSandwichDay
Many restaurants offer specials on their Cuban Sandwich to celebrate the day. You’ll want to give the place that makes your favorite Cubano a shout-out, too! You can also make your own. Try a traditional recipe or change it up with your own distinctive style. You can also share the day with others while exploring new side dishes and recipes. Be sure to use #NationalCubanSandwichDay to share your celebrations on social media.
NATIONAL CUBAN SANDWICH DAY HISTORY
Journalist Christopher Spata of the Tampa Bay Times set out to test the National Day food celebration waters in 2016. In his mission to make up a new food holiday, he managed to create a celebration that has gone around the world. According to his article, he chose August 23rd because the only other food holiday was National Sponge Cake Day, “and who cares about that?” (He’s obviously never had sponge cake or tried making one.” And while some articles call it a hoax, those who celebrate food days take them seriously.
Q. When is National Sandwich Day?
A. National Sandwich Day is November 3.
Q. How many sandwich holidays are on the calendar?
A. The short answer is there are 13 sandwich-specific days on the calendar. But, define sandwich. Most people (and dictionaries) define “sandwich” as a food comprised of two pieces of bread with a filling of meat, cheese, or other food items in between the bread. Hoagie, hamburger, and sloppy Joe easily fit that description. Grilled cheese sandwich has the word “sandwich” in its name. Those are no-brainers. But, what is a hot dog? Chili dog? What about the Oreo? Is it a sandwich or can you count desserts? Speaking of desserts, how about a s’more? Are graham crackers bread? That brings us to quesadillas. Tortillas are bread and some quesadillas use two tortillas. Is a quesadilla a sandwich? And then there are the open-face sandwiches. Is an egg benedict considered an open-face sandwich?
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen (https://www.tastingtable.com/cook/recipes/cuban-sandwich-recipe)
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus marinating and resting time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating and resting time
For the Roast Pork:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound pork tenderloin
For the Cuban Sandwich:
Four 8-to-10-inch Cuban sandwich loaves, halved lengthwise
1 stick unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 cup yellow mustard
1 pound sliced honey-glazed ham
4 large dill pickles, thinly sliced crosswise
8 ounces (16 each) Swiss cheese slices
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Make the roast pork: Preheat the oven to 450° and line a sheet pan with foil. In a mini food processor, combine all of the pork ingredients, except for the tenderloin, and purée until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the tenderloin, tossing to coat. Cover in plastic and let marinate on the counter for 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the tenderloin to the prepared sheet pan and pour the marinade over top. Roast until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 140° on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then carve into ¼-inch slices on a bias.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the sandwiches: Rub the outer side of the top and bottom of each loaf with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter and arrange, butter-side down, on a cutting board. Spread 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard on the inside of each piece of bread. On the bottom half of each loaf, layer a quarter of the ham, followed by a quarter each of the pickle slices, roast pork and cheese. Season with a pinch of salt and close with the top half of the bread. Repeat with the remaining loaves and fixings.
4. Heat up a panini maker according to the directions. Then, working in batches, press the sandwiches until golden brown and the cheese has melted, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a board and cut each one in half on a bias, then serve.