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!
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 40 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 25 min
  • Yield: Up to 8 servings
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Ingredients

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

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

1 pint lime sorbet or 1 can lime ade from frozen juice sectio

8 shots light rum

1/2 cup mint leaves

1 tray ice cubes

Directions

Sandwich fixins:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. Preheat a stovetop griddle over medium high heat. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 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. 
  7. Combine chopped pickles, sweet red pepper relish and scallions in a small bowl. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 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.
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