Cuban Style Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches and Fried Plantains

Put The Buena Vista Social Club on the stereo and invite over a few friends to make a weeknight trip to Cuba! Put on your best cabana shirts[ and keep a limbo pole on hand!]

Total Time:
40 min
15 min
25 min

Up to 8 servings

  • Pork tenderloins, Cuban style:
  • 1 2/3 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin, 2 pieces, the average weight of 1 package, trimmed
  • Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, zested
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Cuban sweet rolls:
  • 8 crusty rolls, such as Portuguese rolls, torpedo loaves or muffuletta style round rolls
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • Plantains:
  • 1/4 cup corn oil, 4 turns of the pan
  • 4 black (ripe) plantains
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • Relish for sandwiches:
  • 6 dill pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper relish
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Sandwich fixins:
  • 1 pound shaved ham, from the deli counter
  • 1 pound shaved Swiss cheese, from the deli counter
  • 4 tablespoons butter, for toasting sandwiches
  • Frozen Mojito Slushes, recipe follows
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  • Coat tenderloins with oil. Combine onion, garlic, citrus zest, salt, pepper and dried oregano in a pile on your cutting board. Pack this coating equally and evenly onto the tenderloins. Heat a large skillet. Add a drizzle of oil and sear tenderloin on all sides. Then place in hot oven to roast 20 to 25 minutes. Wash hands.

  • Brush rolls with a little warm water and sprinkle the tops of the rolls with 1/2 teaspoon sugar each. Pile rolls on a baking sheet and place in oven with meat for 5 minutes to crust rolls and set sugar. Authentic Cuban rolls used for this sandwich are sweet. This sugar wash process gives a similar effect to store bought rolls. When rolls come out of oven, split and pile on serving plate.

  • Preheat a stovetop griddle over medium high heat.

  • Heat 1/4 cup corn oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Peel plantains and cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then slice each 1/2 into thirds on an angle. Arrange plantains in pan in a single layer and cook until crisp, continuously flipping for even browning. Remove from skillet to paper towel lined plate and season with fine salt.

  • To assemble sandwiches: Thinly slice meat on an angle. Place ham and Swiss cheese on a serving plate, separating and fluffing up the shaved meat and cheese. Assemble sandwiches with desired fillings and place on a hot, buttered griddle. Use a heavy pan to press the sandwiches together. Toast until golden brown, then flip and toast the other side.

  • Combine chopped pickles, sweet red pepper relish and scallions in a small bowl.

  • Spread the relish on the tops of the rolls and pork slices, ham, and swiss cheese on the bottoms. Press the sandwiches together. Put about 1 tablespoon of butter on the hot griddle and spread to coat. Put 2 sandwiches at a time on the griddle, and top with a heavy cast-iron skillet. Toast sandwiches on the griddle, turning once, until golden, hot, and cheese is melted, 2 or 3 minutes per side.

  • Serve with a few slices of plantains per person as a side dish. Frozen Mojitos Slushes make a great drink or dessert.

Frozen Mojito Slushes:
  • For every 4 slushes, you will need:

  • 1 pint lime sorbet or 1 can lime ade from frozen juice section

  • 8 shots light rum

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves

  • 1 tray ice cubes

  • In a blender, combine 1/2 pint sorbet or 1/2 can of lime aid with 4 shots of rum, 1/4 cup mint leaves and 1/2 tray of ice. Pulse, then blend on high until lime-mint slush is smooth. Pour drinks into 2 large cocktail glasses using a long handled spoon and repeat with remaining ingredients.

  • Yield: 4 cocktails, for 8, double the recipe.

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