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.
Affectionately dubbed "the sleeper hit of the shop," this Wednesday special ($7.50) was born out of leftovers from some of Cutty's bigger-name sensations. The sautéed broccoli rabe and the crispy, sesame-studded Iggy's roll comes from Saturday's Pork Rabe Torta; hand-pulled fresh mozzarella from the Spuckie; and their kickass tangy-sweet tomato jam from the seasonal, can't-wait-for-/can't-let-go-of-summer BLTJ.
To salt up the garlicky, faintly bitter rabe, Kelsey tosses it with shreds of aged provolone, then presses the mixture onto half of the toasted, EVOO-dressed bun and tops it with the mozzarella slabs. On the other half, he schmears that awesome tomato jam on thick, then presses the whole number on the panini griddle until the edges get crisp, the provolone starts to melt, and the sesame seeds get dark and toasty.
The result, which looks like a tribute to the Italian flag, is a brilliant example of unlike flavors and textures coming together to form something greater than the sum of their parts, when, in this case, the parts themselves are already great. Particularly that tomato jam.
"You can get the crappiest, gnarliest, pinkest January tomatoes and [the jam's] still awesome," Kelsey says.
The main reason it's so good: Concentration. It's 20 pounds of tomatoes (just regular red ones) boiled down to one gallon, along with sugar, lemon juice, brandy, and a host of aromatics and spices (fresh ginger, cumin, black pepper, chile flakes, and salt).
In fact, the Cutty's staff has realized that the jam's far too good to reserve it for just one or two sandwiches. At the shop, it's become a pantry condiment, making its way into everything from morning toast with yogurt cheese to grilled cheese.
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.