Monday, May 31, 2010

Miami (Sandwich) Vice


A few summers ago I went to Miami, and I now know that Miami Vice doesn't refer to detectives in white linen pants and sportcoats, it refers to the dirty little habit people in Miami just can't break...the Cuban Sandwich: a sinfully delicious and addicting vice. Miami might have their famous Medianoche sandwich—the oh-so-good concoction filled with pork, ham, Swiss, mustard, and pickles, then pressed until thin and melty... but Seattle has the Midnight Cuban Press from Paseo. Nothing like your traditional Cuban sandwich, Paseo's Midnight Cuban Press is a legend in its own right: succulent roast pork, smoky ham, melty Swiss, unbelievable caramelized onions, sweet banana peppers, garlicky aioli, and bright, fresh cilantro.

I had been hearing about Paseo for years before I actually experienced the glory. Most people couldn’t believe I hadn’t been, I mean… I live right between the only two locations—west Ballard and Fremont, and if you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little obsessed with good food. A few months ago, when Seattle had one sunny day (which was sunnier, two months ago, than it was all Memorial weekend) Evan and I finally went to Paseo. The Ballard location is a little pink shack, with a few picnic tables and line that stretches two blocks down the street. Don’t let the insane line intimidate you… the wait is well worth it.

Phone pic of my first Paseo

We both got the Midnight Cuban Press—mine with aioli, his without. It was life changing. The flavor combo was unlike than anything I’ve ever had, and was absolutely amazing. If I could pick one thing to eat the rest of my life, it might be a Paseo sandwich. No joke. The onions were big and sweet, the aioli tangy with a super garlicky bite, and the pork tender and full of juicy goodness. Talk about a vice!

This weekend, Evan was on a boy’s trip, so I was home alone with nothing to do but cook (and watch a Law & Order: SVU marathon). After a few fast food filled weekends away, I was stoked to stay home and get a little kitchen crazy. I made pizza, I made cake, I baked eggs, and… I recreated the ultimate pork sandwich.

My easy home version of the Paseo sandwich includes leftover roast pork (I used this delicious recipe from a Food52 member, Kayb), deli ham, Swiss cheese, honey caramelized onions, garlic-yogurt spread, and cilantro on a French baguette, pressed to messy, delicious perfection. If you have leftover roasted pork, then I highly recommend you make this. If you don’t have leftover roasted pork, then I seriously suggest you get your butt in the oven (your pork butt, or shoulder, that is), grab a huge handful of napkins, make an ice cold, minty mojito, turn up the heat, and pretend that it’s not 48 degrees and raining at the end of May.

Paseo Style Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Makes 2 big, filling, fantastic sandwiches

1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 small-medium sweet onion- sliced in rings
1 tablespoon honey
1 large garlic clove- pressed
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
pinch of ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1.5 cups pulled pork
4 thin slices of smoked deli ham
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1 French baguette- halved lengthwise and cut in 2 portions
handful of cilantro
salt and pepper

For caramelized onions: in a skillet, heat EVOO and butter over medium heat. Add onions and slowly caramelize until golden. Take off of heat, and add in honey and a pinch of salt.

For garlic-yogurt spread: whisk together pressed garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, and a pinch of salt.

For sandwiches: On each baguette half, slather on garlic spread, and layer pork, ham, swiss, onions, and cilantro. Top with other baguette half. Heat big skillet over medium. Place sandwiches in skillet, and press (I press w/a heavy cast iron skillet) for a few minutes on each side, until cheese is melty.
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