Cuban Sandwiches with Sweet Plantain & Kale Salad

Cuban Sandwiches

with Sweet Plantain & Kale Salad

40 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

Tonight’s dinner is the irresistible, time-honored Cuban sandwich­—with its origins on the island as early as the 1860s. We’re filling soft rolls with slices of tender, twice-cooked pork and melty Swiss cheese, along with crunchy homemade pickles. Then we’re pan-toasting the sandwiches, flattening them with a heavy pot to create that famous crust. To finish, we’re serving a salad of kale and fried sweet plantain, brightened up with a garlic-lime dressing. (Any black or brown on your plantain’s peel indicates that it’s ripe enough for this preparation.)

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    700 Cals (est.)
fresh
ingredients
Cuban Sandwiches with Sweet Plantain & Kale Salad
Title
time-saving
tips & techniques
Sear & roast the pork:
1 Sear & roast the pork:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on all sides. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned pork; cook, turning occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to a foil-lined sheet pan; roast 18 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. (An instant-read thermometer should register 145°F.) Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for at least 5 minutes. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the pork sears, wash and dry the fresh produce. Thinly slice the cucumber into rounds; place in a heatproof bowl. Peel the garlic. Using the flat side of your knife, smash 1 garlic clove once to flatten it. Mince the remaining garlic clove; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Peel the plantain; slice into ¾-inch-thick rounds. Halve the rolls. Quarter the lime. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves.

Make the pickles:
3 Make the pickles:

While the pork roasts, add the smashed garlic clove to the bowl of cucumber. In the pan used to sear the pork, combine the sugar, vinegar, a big pinch of salt and ½ cup of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, remove from heat and carefully pour over the cucumber-garlic mixture. Set aside to pickle, stirring occasionally, for at least 5 minutes. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

Cook the plantain:
4 Cook the plantain:

While the pork continues to roast, in the same pan, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Once the oil is hot enough that a plantain slice sizzles immediately when added to the pan, add the plantain; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt. Carefully discard the oil and wipe out the pan.

Assemble & toast the sandwiches:
5 Assemble & toast the sandwiches:

Find the lines of muscle (or grain) of the rested pork; thinly slice against the grain. Place the rolls on a work surface; spread a layer of the mustard onto each half. Divide the sliced pork, cheese and pickles (discarding the garlic and draining before adding) between the roll bottoms; top with the roll tops. In the pan used to cook the plantains, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the sandwiches; place a heavy pot on top. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until the rolls are crispy and the cheese has melted. Transfer to a cutting board.

Make the salad & plate your dish:
6 Make the salad & plate your dish:

While the sandwiches toast, in a bowl, combine the garlic paste and the juice of all 4 lime wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. Just before serving, in a medium bowl, combine the kale, cooked plantain and enough of the dressing to coat the salad (you may have extra dressing). Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the toasted sandwiches in half; divide between 2 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Sear & roast the pork:
1 Sear & roast the pork:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Pat the pork dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on all sides. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned pork; cook, turning occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to a foil-lined sheet pan; roast 18 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. (An instant-read thermometer should register 145°F.) Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for at least 5 minutes. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the pork sears, wash and dry the fresh produce. Thinly slice the cucumber into rounds; place in a heatproof bowl. Peel the garlic. Using the flat side of your knife, smash 1 garlic clove once to flatten it. Mince the remaining garlic clove; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Peel the plantain; slice into ¾-inch-thick rounds. Halve the rolls. Quarter the lime. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves.

Make the pickles:
3 Make the pickles:

While the pork roasts, add the smashed garlic clove to the bowl of cucumber. In the pan used to sear the pork, combine the sugar, vinegar, a big pinch of salt and ½ cup of water; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, remove from heat and carefully pour over the cucumber-garlic mixture. Set aside to pickle, stirring occasionally, for at least 5 minutes. Rinse and wipe out the pan.

4 Cook the plantain:

While the pork continues to roast, in the same pan, heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high until hot. Once the oil is hot enough that a plantain slice sizzles immediately when added to the pan, add the plantain; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately season with salt. Carefully discard the oil and wipe out the pan.

Cook the plantain:
Assemble & toast the sandwiches:
5 Assemble & toast the sandwiches:

Find the lines of muscle (or grain) of the rested pork; thinly slice against the grain. Place the rolls on a work surface; spread a layer of the mustard onto each half. Divide the sliced pork, cheese and pickles (discarding the garlic and draining before adding) between the roll bottoms; top with the roll tops. In the pan used to cook the plantains, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the sandwiches; place a heavy pot on top. Cook, occasionally pressing down on the pot, 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until the rolls are crispy and the cheese has melted. Transfer to a cutting board.

6 Make the salad & plate your dish:

While the sandwiches toast, in a bowl, combine the garlic paste and the juice of all 4 lime wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. Just before serving, in a medium bowl, combine the kale, cooked plantain and enough of the dressing to coat the salad (you may have extra dressing). Toss to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the toasted sandwiches in half; divide between 2 plates. Serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

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