Movies have a way of stretching your imagination. It takes advantage of drama and imagination, and often bends the rules to create an idealised world that isn’t quite accurate.
But when a movie – like, say, Chef – hires Roy Choi to be its consulting chef? Then you know that the food’s gonna work.
Inspired by the movie, I decided to try making my very own Cuban Sandwich.
This sandwich is basically a cuban version of a ham and cheese sandwich, layered with braised pork shoulder, pickles and mustard, and toasted to golden melted perfection.
I started with the pork shoulder. I used this recipe from Tyler Florence to start off with – using a mixture of stock, orange juice and spices, it lends a sweetness to the pork. It recommended tying off the pork to help the shoulder hold its shape, but tying it didn’t do very much for me since the muscle shrank while it was being pressure-cooked.
Also, the amount of liquid didn’t quite cover the pork, leaving part of it slightly dry. Might be a good idea to try the slow-cooked oven approach the next time.
For the bread, I chose a baguette roll, because my local bakery didn’t have hoagie rolls available. I sliced it in half, spread both sides with a thin layer of dijon mustard, layered the swiss cheese, smoked ham, chopped pork shoulder (mine didn’t hold well enough to slice), and pickles, before pressing it down in my sandwich press.
The result was a delicious sandwich, but lacked the ooze that the one in the movie had. I think I needed to heat the ham slices in a frypan – having hot pork shoulder didn’t seem to be enough – and I think I needed more cheese. Also, the french baguette was really too round to work in a sandwich press since there seemed to be a problem of the top and bottom halves not lining up properly when compressed in the sandwich press.
Lessons for next time: flatter, softer bread, more cheese, hotter filling.
Also, next time, we roast the pork! I wonder how it would taste with pork belly…