Elena Ruz Sandwich
During the late 1920s or early 1930s, the Cuban socialite Elena Ruz Valdés-Fauli asked for a sandwich with turkey, strawberry preserves and cream cheese in a soft medianoche roll at El Carmelo restaurant in Havana. The sandwich was an original request — it didn’t yet exist on menus in Cuba — but it eventually became something of a beloved national dish. Like other popular Cuban dishes, it combines the sweet and the salty. Some Cuban chefs say that it lends itself to adaptation and experimentation with other jams and sandwich meats. It’s best enjoyed with plantain chips and a Cuban soda, such as Materva or Ironbeer.
- Serves: 1 person
- 1Cuban medianoche roll or a brioche hot dog roll (5 to 6 inches long)
- 2tablespoons cream cheese, softened, plus more as needed
- 3 ½ounces sliced turkey breast
- 1 ½tablespoons strawberry preserves, plus more as needed (see Tip)
- ½teaspoon unsalted butter
Step 1Slice or split the bread roll in half to fill as a sandwich. Spread a 1/3-inch-thick layer of cream cheese on the bottom half. Lay turkey neatly on top of the cream cheese. Do not overfill the sandwich. Evenly spread jam on the top half of the bread and sandwich with the bottom.
Step 2In a pan over medium-low heat, melt butter, swirling to evenly coat the pan. Place the sandwich bottom side down in the pan and press it with a spatula or a cast-iron skillet. Heat to warm the sandwich, until the bottom is lightly toasted but not burned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip the sandwich and repeat with the other side. Remove from the heat, cut the sandwich in half at an angle and serve immediately.