Welcome to Cutty's Week! Every day this week, we'll be writing about a sandwich from Cutty's, one of our favorite sandwich shops in Boston. Proprietor and chef Charles Kelsey has been kind enough to donate the recipes for his one-of-a-kind creations.
A celebrity* invented this sandwich, but that's not why it became famous. According to Kelsey, the Spicy Pork Torta ($7.99) is another one of those examples of the staff mixing and matching X,Y, and Z from the raw materials they keep on hand and coming up with something amazing.
*Son Volt drummer Dave Bryson is Kelsey's buddy. He works shifts at Cutty's when he's not touring with the band, and he's obviously a genius.
In many ways, the combination is infallible: from top to bottom, Iggy's torta bread; spicy (Sriracha) mayo; fresh cilantro; pickled red onions, pork carnitas, more spicy mayo, and the other half of the roll. All the elements of addiction are there: fatty, crispy, salty, sweet, crunchy, tangy, spicy, creamy. But like everything on the menu at Cutty's, this sandwich is a winner because it went through multiple iterations before the staff felt like they'd nailed it—and they might not be done with it yet.
"The sandwich probably looks unlike the beta version," Kelsey says, "and it's always evolving and current with our own enjoyment."
A few of the finer details: First, some of the unctuous braised pork shreds are crisped up with sugar, which creates that addictively crispy, burnt-ends quality, and nicely offsets the pork's saltiness. Second, they use whole stems of cilantro, and lots of it, so that the herb functions like a salad green, adding crisp freshness as well as flavor.
And third, they don't skimp on the spicy mayo. It's crucial not just for its spicy richness; it also helps anchor the filling in place, so that you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
And perhaps the biggest plug of all: It's Kelsey's mom's favorite sandwich in the whole world.
About the authors: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Associate Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances for a number of Boston publications. Mari Levine is a culinary school grad and an online editor at a national food magazine.