When people think of Italian cuisine, pork shank may not immediately come to mind, but the pairing may soon become synonymous in L.A. thanks to Zach Pollack and Alimento. The young chef was inspired to create the massive multi-person dish, Bone-in Pork Shank Affumicato ($44), after traveling to Alto Adige in northern Italy, which adjoins Austria.
“There’s a lot of Austrian influence up there,” says Pollack, “but there’s still that deft Italian hand that respects restraint. Smoke figures prominently in the area, as it does on the platter.” For his dish, which could easily feed four people, Pollack cold smokes a pig’s hind shank for four hours before braising the meat for another 12 hours at low temperature. He glazes the shank with a reduced cooking liquid and tangy cider vinegar. The result is tender pork that pulls easily from the bone and sticky, caramelized skin. The wood platter also hosts cabbage braised with onions, chunks of speck (“to back up the smoke in the shank”), and caraway seeds. Potatoes, which are flattened, roasted and deep-fried with aromatic rosemary, tout crispy skins and creamy cores and anchor the other side of the platter.
Pollack respects tradition, but he is also smart enough to know that he’s in Silver Lake and not Bolzano, and that it’s okay to stray a bit from the classics when creating a great new dish.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.