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Cuban Frita with Shoestrings and Salsa CremosaThat’s right…those Cubans even have their own version of a burger…the Frita.  This is a burger made with pork or a combination of beef and pork, seasoned, fried, placed on a bun, drizzled with a creamy sauce and shoestring potato sticks all over the top.  I’ll just let you think about that for a moment….Fritas are delicious.  Let’s just get that out there right now.  The Goddess has been making these for a number of years, but now with our Miami adventure well underway, it seemed fitting to actually share this info with the rest of you.  You could, if you live in Miami, head on over to Calle (Cah’-yeah) Ocho or Eighth Street, the heart of Little Havana, and pick up a Frita at El Mago De Las Fritas.  But, if you can’t do that, because you’re not living in Miami, well then you need to know how to make your own frita.

Seasoned Meat for Frita CubanaIt’s a good idea to mix up the meat(s) with the seasonings the day before or at least earlier in the day, to allow the flavors to get all mixed together and happy.  A happy frita, is a delicious frita.  Mix the creamy sauce up, too.  They just chill both things (separately, of course.)

Ground Meat and Seasonings for the Frita CubanaSometimes I use all ground pork and other times, like today, I use a combination of ground pork and beef.  I like both, but I think I might lean a bit more toward the pork only, which seems to be the more traditional version.

Frita Cubana with Grated GarlicI’ve taken to grating fresh garlic into things.  I think I like it better than putting garlic though a press.  I decided what was good for garlic was also good for onion.  I’m glad I grated both, because the flavor was more uniform and it added moisture, as these meats were quite lean.  I don’t add eggs or bread crumbs to burgers, only meatloaf, so the frita itself is gluten-free.

Frita Cubana

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 red onion, very finely minced or grated
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional-not traditional)
  • 2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (salsa Inglesa)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I use more)
  • Salsa Cremosa
  • 6-8 potato or other soft buns, toasted
  • Slices of raw onion
  • Caramelized onions
  • Shoestring potato sticks

Combine the ingredients until thoroughly mixed, using caution not to compact the meat too much.  It’s better to do this several hours ahead or the day before.  Chill. Form into patties about 5-6 ounces each.  For best results, make certain the meat is very cold when working with it.  Set aside in the fridge.

Form into 6-8 patties.  Fry in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat; leave them alone and don’t move them for 2 minutes.  You want a nice crust to form on the surface of the frita.  Flip the fritas and continue to fry until cooked almost completely through.  Serve on toasted potato buns, topped with slices of raw onion, sautéed onions, a healthy drizzle of salsa cremosa and a large mound of shoestring potato sticks.  Serve immediately.  Avocado slices are nice, though not traditional.

Frita Cubana Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016.  All rights reserved.

Cuban FritaYou know how to make hamburgers, and the procedure is the same for a frita.  I prefer to pan-fry these, and hamburgers, too, for that matter, in a hot, cast iron skillet.  I like that caramelized, crispy crust that forms on the outside of meat when introduced to a searing heat.  You know, like Miami in July…now that’s hot!

Now, since technically I’m not Cuban…actually there’s no “technically” about it.  I’m not.  So, we can take some liberties here.  We can add things like pickled jalapeño peppers, if we like…and we like!  We also like to add slices of avocado and just a squeeze of Sriracha, if we wanted some extra heat.  Also, we can be Cuban and add a fried egg on top of the burger, which I must say is quite a nice combo.  If you’re looking to boost your protein levels, this is a good way to do it.  Cuban Frita with Shoestrings and Salsa CremosaBut, please don’t leave the shoestrings off.  That crunch is just so great juxtaposed against the soft bun.  By the way, they’re terrific to toss on top of a salad, too.  Sometimes it’s all about the crunch.

Cuban Frita with Salsa CremosaBut, it’s also all about the sauce!  The salsa cremosa, or simply “creamy sauce”, is a nice little “special sauce” The Goddess uses on pretty much anything she can.  We like it drizzled on broccoli and green beans, almost as much as we like it on burgers.  You can double the recipe and keep it in the fridge for quite awhile.  Squeeze it over some fries or roasted potatoes…yummmm…those Cubans know how to eat, don’t they?