Gourmet Dining and a Legendary Sandwich
By Doc Lawrence
This is the land of great journalists and authors like Edna Buchanan and Carl Hiassen. It was a sports-filled weekend.
The area is one of America’s gourmet centers. Here, that means diversity where in some areas there are restaurants offering the cuisine of dozens of countries. Miami serves as a reminder that the world of good eating is an adventure. Food trends here relate to origins: Cubana, Brazilian, Peruvian, Argentinean, Middle Eastern are omnipresent and influential.
|The Fountainbleu Hotel|
You are drawn here to landmarks like the ever-majestic Fontainbleau, a hotel that still stands above most I’ve ever visited. Long ago, I spent some time as a guest in the penthouse, once occupied by megastars like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. I know what it feels like to be a king for 72 hours.
Later this year, Art Basel, the global fine art event takes place in Miami Beach. My first attendance there also included an evening with Muhammad Ali for a tribute to the best of all time. Etta James performed. Will Smith emceed. That’s part of what makes Miami memories so special.
There’s more to come in early 2017. The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is worth the effort and the cost. There’s something really nice about enjoying food and wine beside the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of winter.
Walk around for just a few blocks and you have choices of fine dining or casual food. No trip to Miami is complete without a Cuban sandwich. Here’s a recipe that is as near to the real thing as you’ll find this side of Havana.
From Latin Grilling by Lourdes Castro (2011)
1 loaf Cuban bread
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) softened unsalted butter,
3 tbs yellow mustard
2 pounds sliced ham
2pounds sliced pork roast
1 pound sliced Swiss cheese
Dill pickle chips
Spread 2 tablespoons of the butter on one half of the bread loaf and a thin layer of mustard on the other. Place 1 to 2 layers of ham, pork, cheese, and, finally, pickles on the buttered bread and top with the mustard-spread bread.
Smear the remaining butter all over the outside of the sandwich and wrap it completely in aluminum foil.
Press and grill the sandwich
Heat your grill to high (550°F) and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes before lowering the heat to medium-high (450°F) and continuing.
Before grilling the sandwich, press down on it with your hands to flatten it. Place the wrapped, flattened sandwich on the grill and top with a brick, grill press, or any other heavy, heat-resistant object. Close the lid and grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side.
Remove the wrapped sandwich from the grill and take off the foil. Return the sandwich to the grill and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until both pieces of bread are crispy and golden brown.
Slice and serve
Remove the sandwich from the grill and cut at an angle into small sandwich wedges (triangles). Place on a large platter and serve while still hot.
This is not your ordinary sandwich. Enjoy with Sangria and finish with a legendary Café Con Leche.