The perfect “midnight” snack, it’s easy to see how this sandwich became a staple of the Havana late night scene – after an evening of drinking, dancing and music, this is guaranteed to hit the spot. Also, they’re pretty darn good just for dinner.
Note: This is more or less the recipe from the movie Chef, which, if you haven’t seen it, you really should. Also, I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t lift this recipe from Roy Choi. I totally did. I really didn’t even modify it; it’s so stinking good. This recipe first appeared in Food & Wine, you can check out the original here.
The only two modifications from the original are these: (1) I use a pork loin rather than a pork butt/shoulder, because it is a leaner cut. No matter what cooking method you choose, they key is to go low and slow. Personally, I’ve found that a nice long sous vide bath really infuses the marinade into the meat, and that method greatly reduces the babysitting time. (2) I prefer regular olive oil to extra virgin in this case, because extra virgin is a little strong in this recipe for my taste (but what do I know).
Anyhow, without further ado:
For the Pork:
- A 3-4lb boneless pork loin, fat cap and silver skin removed.
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Kosher salt
For the Sandwiches (ingredients are per sandwich)
- Sweet bread rolls or buns – King’s Hawaiian, Brioche or Challah bread will all work well
- 2 slices quality ham
- Pickles (traditionally, sweet pickles, but I like the way the sourness of dill balances the sweetness of the bread)
- 1 slice of Swiss cheese
- Generous portion of roasted pork (from above)
- Dijon mustard
For the Pork:
- Combine ingredients 2-11 in a food processor and pureè
- Reserve about 1/4 cup marinade and refrigerate
- Add pork to a heavy duty 1 gallon freezer bag. Pour marinade over pork and massage. Use the water displacement method to seal pork in bag.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or over night.
- Cook Pork:
- In the oven – Preheat oven to 325° – Remove pork from marinade. Discard marinade that the pork was in and plastic bag. Place pork in roasting pan or on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until internal temperature reaches 150°F, 2- 3 hours, depending on size of roast. Baste occasionally with reserved marinade.
- Sous Vide – Leave pork in bag. Bring water bath to 150°F; cook 4 hours. Remove from bag and pat dry. Discard plastic bag and marinade. Sear pork on hot grill, or in cast iron skillet, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.
- Allow pork to rest 20 minutes. Slice pork thinly with a sharp knife.
For the Sandwiches (Final Assembly)
- Head griddle (or ideally, a panini press) to medium high heat
- Smear bread (both top and bottom) with Dijon mustard. Go easy.
- Assemble sandwiches in this order: several generous slices of roasted pork, followed by ham, followed by cheese, followed by pickles
- Grill sandwiches (like you would for grilled cheese) until bread is golden brown, pressing occasionally