My husband loves to cook and loves spicy food. We are a match made in heaven, since I love to eat and also love spicy food. We visited his parents who have a great garden, when their labs don’t eat all the tomatoes (and eggplants and cucumbers…), and we came home with lots of habaneros! What to do with these habaneros, you ask? Make Cuban sandwiches, drink beer, and watch baseball, of course!
We are New York Yankees fans here. I’ve never been a huge baseball fan, but due to baptism by fire, I am now a Yankee fan. Also, I think there would be discontent in the house if I rooted for another team (although I secretly love the Cardinals and Cubs since I have fond memories of family vacations in St. Louis and my dad loves the Cubs, respectively). So, in honor of the first ALCS playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers, I decided we should have Cuban sandwiches. There’s really no connection here except that Fidel Castro loves baseball, and I love Cuban sandwiches.
We roasted a pork loin over some sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven on 350 for about an hour. Hubs rubbed the pork loin with brown sugar and cayenne before placing it over the sweet potato cubes. He wanted the cubes in there to act like a roasting pan. He made a glaze for the pork loin out of brown sugar, cayenne, 1/2 of a diced habanero, salt, and pepper. Talk about good.
To make the Cuban sandwich (or medianoche), you cut open Cuban bread. We don’t have any Cuban bread around here, so we used the wider French bread. Spread mustard on both sides. Stack ham, roast pork loin, Swiss cheese, and pickles on the bread, and heat it up with a little butter in a non-stick skillet or Cuban press (which we also don’t have here). We used the Dutch oven which is super heavy to smash the sandwich together while it heated. Here is the final result. Yum.
And here are some of my favorite photos by Osvaldo Salas, who was Fidel Castro’s official photographer. I met his son, Roberto Salas, in Oxford, Mississippi, at a photography show of his and his father’s photos. I bought Fidel’s Cuba at the show and a t-shirt with the photo of Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway.