During the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., ABC’s Diane Sawyer visited Columbia Restaurant, which has been in business since 1905, to learn how to make the perfect Cuban sandwich. Here’s what she learned.
No mayo. No lettuce or tomato. No turkey. A true Tampa Cuban is layered from bottom to top: ham, roast pork, salami, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. The better the quality of the ingredients, the better the sandwich. Good bread is essential, and La Segunda Central Bakery in Ybor City has supplied the Columbia for much of its history. The sandwich should not be overstuffed with ham, but carefully proportioned. Pressing the sandwich toasts the bread, melts the cheese, and renders the juices of the ingredients. Some prefer a “smashed Cuban,” which is pressed heavily for a long time.
9″ piece of Cuban bread
4 ounces Glazed Ham, thinly sliced
1 1/2 ounces Roasted Cuban Pork, thinly sliced
1 ounce Genoa salami (peppercorn studded preferred), thinly sliced
1 ounce Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
2 pickle chips
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Cut Cuban bread in half lengthwise. Layer sliced meats and cheese in the following order: ham, pork, salami, and then cheese. Place pickle chips evenly on top.
Spread mustard on top half of bread. Lightly butter both top and bottom of sandwich. Heat sandwich in press until crisp. Cut diagonally from corner to corner. Serves 1.