If you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich called medianoche but have had a Cuban sandwich (a Cubano) you’re probably wondering what the difference between the two are – after all both originate from Cuba and they both have the same filling ingredients, namely: sweet ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese and pickles. The main difference between the two is this: a Cubano sandwich is made with the ingredients that I’ve just specified and placed on Cuban bread. The medianoche is made with the same ingredients but placed on sweet Cuban bread. “Medianoche” is Spanish for (midnight) and the sandwich was born at a time when many Cubans returning from a night of dancing would fight off hunger eating a medianoche sandwich. It was the perfect sandwich for that hour and those starving late-night partygoers!
Well I went ahead and had to mess with perfection…SORRY!
My version of the Cuban medianoche is in the form of sliders and they came about because of another recipe that has been running the internet, you’ve probably seen them called by a variety of names, “Ham and Cheese” sliders, “Funeral” sandwiches, country sandwiches, etc. So after making them and bringing them in to work one morning, a Fire Captain that was working out of our office that week had one and asked me if they were medianoches. I had made them with just regular ham and cheese – but upon thinking long and hard about his mistaken name of those sliders (yeah, I get that way about food – can we say OBSSESSED????), a light bulb came up and I figured, yeah…why not a medianoche slider? and I proceeded to “experiment” that weekend and Voila! The Cuban medianoche sliders were born! In real life folks, medianoches DO NOT include any glaze or condiment (other than either mayo or mustard) however, in keeping with “making it my own” motto, I’ve got to tell you, this glaze just take these sliders over the top.
The filling for them as I’ve stated are as shown above: Sweet Ham, Spanish Roast Pork, pickles and Swiss cheese (I use baby Swiss because I’ve never been a fan of Swiss and I find that baby Swiss is a much milder version of Swiss cheese). The glaze is made up of melted butter, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, and a tsp. of onion powder. For the sweet bread, I used Hawaiian rolls, this makes it a close match to that sweet bread we need to accomplish this recipe (you can also use challah rolls, but when making these, I find that I like the size and convenience of the Hawaiian rolls).
So there you have it, truly this is a recipe you’ll want to keep when company comes over and you just don’t know what type of appetizers you’d like to set out, just be sure to make enough of them cause I’ve seen people going back for two and three. They’re so simple to make you can begin the night before and then just pop them in the oven the next morning. Matter of fact, I HIGHLY recommend that these be made the night before so that the flavors of that sauce get a chance to meld.
Once you pop these in the oven, during the last 15 minutes of cooking time you may want to “press” them down with a cast iron press or other heavy pan so that you can give it that “freshly pressed” look. Instantly, they become oooey, gooey DELICIOUSNESS!
I do hope you’ll give these a try, and if you do, please post a picture of your sliders and leave me a comment as to how you and your liked them! Till next time,
- 1 pkg. of 12 rolls (King’s Hawaiian rolls, or any other sweet rolls)
- 12 slices of ham
- 12 slices of Spanish Roast Pork
- 12 slices of Swiss cheese, or baby Swiss
- ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons of mustard (can use any but tradition dictates to use yellow)
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- In a sauce pan melt the butter then whisk in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and onion powder. Stir until this mixture becomes smooth and silky and more like a thick paste. Take off heat and put to the side to cool.
- Split the whole package of rolls in half (without taking rolls apart) and lay the bottom half in a 9x13 baking pan. Spread a good portion of the glaze on the bottom half of these rolls making sure you cover all the bottom rolls with glaze.
- Layer the deli ham over the glazed bottom rolls.
- Layer your cheese slices next.
- Layer your roast pork slices next.
- Layer your hamburger dill pickle slices all across your sliders (this should not be an option because medianoches include pickle slices PERIOD. You or your guests can pick them off if you want (I don't think they'll even notice them there honestly) but to be called medianoche, they should be added, just sayin).
- Put the tops of the buns back on.
- Brush and cover the top of each bun with the glaze mixture. Drizzle the remainder over the sides of the pan making sure that the bottom buns get plenty of this sauce.
- Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 24 hours is really the best.
- When you are ready to make the sliders, remove them from the fridge, let them come to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350°.
- Cover the sandwiches with foil and bake for 15 minutes. The last 10 minutes, remove the foil and with a brick or heavy ovenproof plate place on top of the sliders to flatten the sliders (as you would a Panini). This is optional like the pickles, but again, Cuban sandwiches or medianoches are both pressed and served hot before serving. If you are skipping this step (why would you?), just remember after removing the foil, to bake for 10-15 minutes more watching that the tops do not burn.