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long hots are incorporated throughout, giving the entire sandwich serious heat. Another elevated take on roast pork that’s made some noise recently is chef Eli Kulp’s version at 6WUVAb`SSb]\;O`YSb. Here, the broccoli rabe is treated with far more care than most: It’s fermented with bold additions like garlic, scallions, chile and horseradish. The process adds tremendous flavor and preserves the product allowing the restaurant to use locally sourced rabe for more of the year. What’s the impetus for this sort of riff, if DiNic’s roast pork has already been crowned the best sandwich in the country without the extra steps? For Kulp, it’s a matter of reflex: “Normally, every time you get that sandwich, it’s pretty much just steamed broccoli rabe. As a chef, I eat that sandwich and think, ‘Wow, that’s such a good combination; it’ll be even better if I take some extra care with that as far as season and balance.’� Here, as at

Paesano’s, the desire seems to be to carefully compose a new perfect bite that still pays homage to the one the city already loves. Kulp specifies that his goal is “to represent the sandwich really well without getting too fussy.� Kulp’s long hots get treated with a similar abundance of care. In his kitchen, the peppers get pickled with garlic, thyme and bayleaf and are finished with a quick char on the grill before being served alongside each sandwich. Kulp describes long hots as “iconic,� which explains why they have such prominence on his menu, even though, he admits, “most people don’t even eat them.� He thinks that a few people might be unsure how to eat them, but guesses it’s mostly a bit more straightforward than that. “The thing is, honestly, some of them are really fucking spicy. You have to be careful to find the right balance as you eat.� Back in the Italian Market, it seems

unlikely that anyone would be unsure of what to do with a long hot. “Iconic� does seem an apt description for the peppers, which, despite their heat, are a deli mainstay. At Sarcone’s, you can buy them by the pound, roasted and packed in seasoned oil. Stuffed pepper shooters remove some of the fiery seeds and pith, to be replaced by sharp provolone. They’re eaten as a snack, plunked wholesale onto a sandwich, or chopped up and incorporated throughout. While their heat varies from pepper to pepper, they’re typically much hotter than the pickled banana pepper rings or cherry peppers that are also standard. Of course, Ninth Street and the area around it now hosts plenty of diversions from the classic Italian-American fare that gave the neighborhood its name. While hoagies and roast pork may be Philly’s best-known signature sandwiches, it would be fair to say that tortas, Q]\bW\cSR]\^OUS&

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Meal Ticket 2014  

The Anatomy of the Sandwich

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