I love Cuban sandwiches, and when I say Cuban sandwiches, I mean something specific, something that doesn’t really exist anywhere in the U.S. outside of South Florida. I remember I was ecstatic when, shortly after moving to Athens, Ga., to attend UGA, someone told me there was a local restaurant that served Cuban sandwiches. When we went, the menu offered up a range of “Cuban sandwiches” with various meats, including eggs and hot dogs. Hot dogs?! The sandwiches also came standard with jalapeno peppers and without the characteristic pickle slices on a true Cuban sandwich.
I decided to try one anyway, minus the jalapenos and hot dogs, and it turns out, the sandwich didn’t feature Cuban bread—that most important and most defining feature of a Cuban sandwich.
After we left, I adamantly explained to anyone who would listen that what we’d just eaten was not a Cuban sandwich. My rant fell on deaf ears. None of my Georgia friends had any idea what I was talking about.
However, I had to admit, the sandwich was delicious.
My favorite was the steak sandwich, which featured strips of steak, green pepper, onion, cheese, and mayonnaise. So, while I resented the misleading title, I found myself going back for the non-Cuban sandwich several times over my years in Athens.
Now, far away in Dallas, Texas, I have no access to Cuban sandwiches or non-Cuban sandwiches.
However, the non-Cuban sandwich from Athens is not too difficult to emulate, so here’s my version – served on French bread.
Here’s what you need:
- French bread
- small, thin steaks
- green bell pepper
- provolone cheese
- olive oil
- white wine vinegar
- garlic powder
Start by sprinkling, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and white wine vinegar over both sides of your steaks. Try to do this a few hours in advance.
Chop your onion and green pepper into strips. Cook them in a skillet with a little olive oil. Grill or pan fry your steaks. Cut the steaks into thin strips.
Slice the French bread and toast it. Put the steak, peppers, and onion on the bread. Top with provolone cheese. Microwave just long enough for the cheese to melt. Then add a little mayonnaise to one side of the bread.