Montadito de lomo or pork and cheese sandwich is a sandwich stuffed with pimentón-marinated pork fillets and slices of cheese that melt with the heat of the freshly grilled pork. It can include red or green peppers too, either roasted or fried. They can be prepared in tapa size or as pinchos.
When I was a kid, growing up in Madrid, I often had a montadito de lomo at bars that I used to frequent with my parents (this sounds worse than it was). They were stuffed only with marinated pork fillets (lomo adobado) and were usually large, or at least they seemed to me as I was small back then. Long ago, believe me.
These large sandwiches could also be served in portions, what would be called pincho de lomo. But with time the former large sandwiches started to be prepared in smaller size too, as what are called pulguitas, literally meaning little fleas. These almost-bite-sized sandwiches are very popular nowadays all over the country, with all sorts of fillings.
We have prepared then a very simple tapa-sized version of montaditos de lomo, which can be devoured in just a couple of bites. In Spain there’s a saying that goes:
Las mejores esencias se guardan en frascos pequeños
meaning that the best things come in small size. Which is a rather convenient saying for a short person like me.
The kind of marinade or adobo typically used for the pork meat is widely popular all over Spain and usually includes an abundance of sweet pimentón with garlic and herbs like oregano or thyme. Let’s get our hands on the recipe.
- 8 pimentón-marinated pork fillets
- 8 small bread rolls
- 8 slices of cheese (young Manchego is best)
- Olive oil for the meat grilling
- Open the rolls in half and set aside.
- Rub some olive oil over all sides of the pork fillets and cook them on a very hot grill pan previously sprinkled with salt. Flip them as soon as the first side is browned.
- Cook them just enough for the meat to remain juicy on the inside.
- To assemble the montadito, place one loin fillet on one half of the roll and top with a slice of cheese. Do the same with all the half-rolls.
- Place the open sandwiches under an oven grill if the heat of the pork is not enough to melt the cheese completely; watch the melting closely, we don't want to overdo it.
- As an option a blowtorch can be used to melt the cheese.
- When melted, close the sandwiches with the remaining halves of the rolls and devour while still warm with a good cold beer or a fino wine.
Tips for a perfect pimentón-marinated pork sandwich or montadito de lomo
- As we often mention regarding the tapas from Spain, quality is essential in such simple fare. Therefore the goodness of this tapa relies mostly on the quality of the meat and the cheese. Use the best you can find.
- We are not going to recommend any type of bread for montaditos, although we favor rolls with a crispy crust. No hamburger buns for this, we beg you.
- The meat used for montaditos is pork loin marinated in a typical adobo of oregano, sweet pimentón and garlic. It is not difficult to make your own lomo adobado or marinated pork loin if you wish, use for 2 pounds of meat:
- 1 tbsp dried oregano,
- 2 tbsp sweet pimentón (or half sweet and half hot),
- 3 mashed garlic cloves and
- 75 g coarse salt.
- Rub the whole piece of meat with a mixture of all the above, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge for 4 days. Then slice and use. That’s it.
- As for the cheese, a Spanish cheese as mild Manchego would be in order, as instructed in the recipe, but you can use any stronger cheese if you like.
If you want to go for somewhat lighter montaditos de lomo or pork loin sandwiches you can make pork loin toasts or open face sandwiches, skipping half the bread. We won’t tell anyone.