Random Aside: When I first started this here little blog the photography was the most daunting part. I can say the coming up with, testing and & tweaking of recipes has definitely been a challenge, but one that I am loving, especially as we shift into the warm months, but the pictures were the part that made me cringe. I quickly discovered that my little point & shoot 5 year old Canon took pictures that did the job, but that’s about all you could say about them, so we invested in a used Nikon DSLR. It was a really cool new toy…that I felt like a monkey with a stick when I was trying to use. There are a LOT of buttons and dials and things that all do stuff associated with words I did not understand, even with the encyclopedia that it came with as a reference – it explains things using all of the terms we have already decided I did not understand.
Well lucky for me my friend Michelle is kind of brilliant with a camera and hosts these “How Not To Feel Like You Wasted A Bunch of Money on a Camera You Have No Idea How to Use” – or as she calls them “Getting Started with Your DSLR” – classes, I know her way is much shorter; I got my learn on at one this last Saturday. Yay! I now know what terms like Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure, White Balance and Depth of Field mean, what all the little numbers and stuff in the windows are and, most impressively, how to change them to take better pictures. I have advanced from monkey-with-stick to toddler-on-training-wheels, a vast improvement. I see a difference in my pics, the ones for this recipe are PM (post-Michelle) and they are better, not perfect, but better. I’m going to keep working on it, hopefully you’ll be able to tell. And I promise not to get too artsy-fartsy with them :)
Now let’s GRILL!
A Cuban, according to wikipedia – the source for all knowledge in the universe, is a panini-styled grilled take on a ham and cheese sandwich. It is generally known to have mustard, roasted pork, ham, pickles, swiss…they are really quite delicious. Really how could it not be…its only a few slices of bacon away from a pork lovers wet dream.
Conceptually this sandwich starts at the Cuban ~ pork, mustard, swiss…then it hangs a left with some minor customizations. Instead of a panini-styled grilled sandwich I built this beast in a toasted Mancini’s hoagie roll – it was damn close to perfect for containing all of the delicious juice & stayed together until it was gone. Instead of the traditional yellow mustard, I dont even have any of that, I made a dijon mayo. Last, but far from least, instead of sliced dill pickles a tangy vinegar slaw made with the Quick Pickled Cucumber & Red Onion leftovers from this post and some julienne cabbage for a ton of flavor and crunch. This was one incredibly delicious monster of a sandwich.
There are a couple separate components of this recipe, starting with a spice rubbed pork tenderloin. I use this method when I want to simulate the crust of slow smoking/grilling on a piece of meat that only needs to cook a fraction of the time. The spice rub is based on light brown sugar loaded with spices, cleaned pork tenderloin is rolled in it right before going on the grill, giving the meat that sweet/spicy chewy crust in less than half an hour. This rub is good with whatever combo of spices you try, so play around and tweak it out to your tastes, and on all kinds of grill-able things – be careful with the heat, though, it is sugar based so it can, and will, burn.
I’ve never tried this on tofu – if one of you readers tries it let me know how it goes – it stands to reason it would work very well with a firm, pressed tofu. Hmmmmm….i sense an experiment coming. I am determined to find a way to prepare tofu that wows me.
Curry Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
- 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
- 3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- a lot of Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- 3 Tbsp Dried Mustard Powder
- 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tbsp Ancho Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Sweet Curry Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
Preheat your grill. I use the gas grill and set it for medium high then turn it down to medium when I get the meat on there. Put all the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix it up, I use a whisk or a spoon to smash out all the lumps of sugar and get it all evenly mashed up. Clean your pork tenderloins, I used a whole package which was enough for 4 sandwiches & leftovers, and cut them in half. Roll them around in the spice rub so they get a nice, even coating of the sugar and spices on them.
Grill for about 6 minutes per side to get them to a nice medium. Get them off the grill and onto a platter. Loosely tent with foil and let them rest. They will finish cooking to a perfect medium well and be warm when you go to slice.
Pickled Cucumber Slaw
- 1/2 head of Cabbage, very thinly julienned
- 1 .5 cups Pickled Cucumber & Red Onion, with any juice (from that recipe)
- 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Thinly slice the cabbage and toss with the pickled cucumbers in a bowl. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar, season with salt & pepper and toss to coat. Let it sit for a little while at room temperature and taste. Season as needed. Also good if you want to kick it up some with some julienned chilis added, matches the vinegar really well.
Dijon Mayo - Mix together equal parts dijon mustard and mayo, I used homemade but not necessary.
Also shredded some Swiss cheese & toast your baguettes in a hot oven. I use Mancini’s Hoagie rolls – 2 of them is enough for 4 big sandwiches.
Building My Cuban
Slice open the bread and smear with dijon sauce on both sides of the bread liberally. Sprinkle some of the shredded swiss. Thinly slice the rested pork tenderloin and lay it on top of the cheese.
Drain off the slaw a little and pile on top of the pork. Hart added some finely sliced jalapeno, a’la bahn mi, because he likes the spicy!
Amazing sandwich. The vinegar from the slaw and the sweet & sour cucumbers and red onion pop the spice rub on the pork, the tangy dijon and creamy swiss pull it all together and the toasted bread, shockingly, held up through the entire thing. The slaw was really good all by itself, but the crunchy texture was perfect with the meaty pork. There wasn’t one thing I would have changed…and that is, if you know me, stunning.
I served this with a warm bacon vinaigrette potato salad, posting that one tomorrow. I am thinking about making the leftovers into a pork & potato hash with a fried egg…if I do I’ll let you know how it came out.