James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz deconstructs the iconic Miami sandwich.
Don’t ask Tampa, but Miami is basically the Cuban sandwich capital of the world. Whether or not you’ve made it a mission to bite into every Cuban sandwich between the two Florida cities, it doesn’t take long to realize that every meat-and-cheese combo looks and tastes a little different. Sometimes the bread is too crispy, and other times thin slices of salami are added between layers of ham, roasted pork, and Swiss cheese. (That only happens in Tampa, though.)
At Versailles in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, one of the country’s most famous Cuban restaurants, the sandwich is kept pretty traditional. That means the bread is always flat with a doughy center, then filled with meat, Swiss, and pickles, and hot-pressed until it’s slightly crispy. But after nearly 50 years of slinging Cubanos and cafecitos (because no sandwich is complete without a shot of espresso), it’s time the recipe got a makeover. At least, that’s what James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz thinks.
Beginning January 14, Schwartz will debut Miami’s first Cuban sandwich pizza. Smothered in fontina and gruyère cheese, mustard sauce, roasted pork, and glazed ham, think of it as a deconstructed version of the iconic item. Each pizza will feature meat straight from Versailles’ kitchen on Calle Ocho, as well as one of their crispy ham croquettes, placed at the center of each pie. Schwartz suggests customers break open the croquette and drizzle the creamy center on top of the pizza.
“I’ve been a fan of Versailles since moving to Miami in the early ‘90s and as a chef I have a keen appreciation for the Valls family’s commitment to keeping it simple and doing things right,” Schwartz says. “We love to get creative with toppings combinations on our pizzas, and taking this one for a spin is a long time coming. We’re grateful to Versailles for trusting us with their ingredients, and for their genuine enthusiasm in having fun with the formula.”
Available through Valentine’s Day, the pie will sell for $16 each and will be available at all of Schwartz’s Genuine Pizza locations in South Florida, including Coconut Grove, the Design District, and the Aventura Mall.