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Grilled Cuban Pressed Sandwiches & Cuban Cowboy Caviar - Cortez, Florida

 
Serves: 2 but ingredients can be adjusted for any number of diners     Difficulty: Very Easy     Meal: Main Dish     Great for potlucks!

From my RV kitchen

Warm, tropical, and inviting, the west coast of Florida offers something for everyone. From seaside seafood shacks to shining seas to simple, indulgent relaxation you can find it here. The RV Cooking Show crew decided to get in on the R&R by visiting a small fishing village with a big, beautiful RV resort - Cortez - just a hop, skip, and jump from the metropolitan Sarasota.

Our stay took us to Holiday Cove RV Resort - and what a location if you love to eat and love to travel. We spent a month there and, as one would, found our favorite places - most of them local's haunts. One of our aims was to put down the truck keys and travel by foot and bicycle. Easy enough. All the places I'll tell you about below met that goal. 

Looking for a great breakfast? Try the Cortez Cafe. The Greek owner might even come over to chat a bit. Cortez Kitchen is right on the water and has great music most nights and a fish market right next door. The Starfish Market is a fresh fish market and dockside diner. Pelican Pete's is owned by a British couple and serve tasty, authentic fish n chips. They are also known for live music - the owner is an accomplished bass player and is really good! If Gumbo Boogie is playing you must stop in for some zydeco and a pint.

On your way down to the shore stop at the funky little maritime shop - the Sea Hag. Anna Maria Island has a terrific smoothie/coffee joint behind a great gallery - the Back Alley - check it out. Grab a slice at Oma's Pizza and enjoy it on the shore. Take a turn down historic Bridge Street and onto the pier. Nice.

The paved bike trail is one of the prettiest I've seen and takes you along the shore to Longboat Pass. Stop along the way and stroll, sit or enjoy a picnic and watch the waves roll in and out.  

We made some new friends there, too. Paulette from Holiday Cove came by with her unique and delish spin on an RVer's favorite - cowboy caviar...a Cuban version that was a perfect match with our authentic pressed Cuban sandwiches. Enjoy!!

Ingredients

Pressed Cuban Sandwiches:

1 loaf of Cuban bread (Italian or French works, too) cut into 6" lengths and sliced open
1 cup of mustard-nnaise (a mix of 2/3 mustard and 1/3 mayo)
6 long, thick slices of swiss cheese
4 lengthwise slices of dill pickle
1/2 pound of serrano ham (or other salty ham such as Virginia)
1/2 pound of pork (can be deli pork or from a leftover pork roast/loin)
olive oil to brush on bread

Paulette's Cuban Cowboy Caviar:

1 can of black beans - drained and rinsed
1 can of corn - drained
1 small red pepper - diced
1 avocado - skinned and diced
2 scallions (incl green parts) - chopped

Dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 t lemon juice
1 clove of garlic - minced
1 t sugar

How-to

Pressed Cuban Sandwiches:

Preheat the grill to high.

Spread mustard-nnaise on both side of open bread. Add 3 pieces of cheese, 2 pieces of dill pickle, half of the ham and half of the pork. Close the bread and generously brush one side with olive oil. Repeat for second sandwich. 

Turn grill to medium, place the oil side of the sandwich down, and using your bbq spatula press the sandwiches firmly down on the grill. Close the grill top and allow to cook for 30 seconds to a minute then press again. When grill side of bread is brown and crisp coat the top side of the sandwiches with olive oil and flip - repeating the pressing, grilling process until the second side is also brown and crisp. 

Cut in half and enjoy! 

Paulette's Cuban Cowboy Caviar:

Combine all salad ingredients in bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small separate bowl and pour over beans/veggies. Stir well to combine and serve immediately. It's that easy...yum!!

Additional Tips

If it's not grilling season or you don't have a grill handy make these pressed sandwiches on the stovetop. They'll be just as tasty but without the grill marks. 

Try different sandwich fillings like turkey and brie or portabello mushrooms and blue cheese. Adjust the veggies accordingly and you've got old tricks and a new taste sensation.

For disclosure's sake, one of the co-owners of Holiday Cove RV Resort is a friend and client. However, in no way, shape or form were we compensated for promoting them in this show. We really loved the park, the people, and especially the location.

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