Chef Zach Allen
B&B Ristorante, Carnevino, and Enoteca San Marco | Las Vegas
Zach Allen is just 31 years old and overseeing the kitchens of the three Batali/Bastianich Vegas operations—no doubt, a huge undertaking. Allen’s influence and responsibility also extends to include the Batali meat curing programs in New York, Los Angeles, and now Vegas—he is the man behind the restaurants’ prosciutto, culatello, and other cured, aged animal parts. When it comes to the menus at the three Vegas restaurants, an Italian influence is a given, but Allen finds a way to keep it fresh with highly seasonal and unexpected ingredients, like fava leaves and ginger. His winning Averna Pork was loaded with bold flavors (Italian Averna liqueur, ginger, and fresh bay leaf), but balanced with a cool cucumber salad brightened with fresh grated ginger and lightly spicy chilies.
Averna Pork with Cucumber-Ginger Salad
Chef Zach Allen of B&B Ristorante, Carnevino, and Enoteca San Marco – Las Vegas, NV
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 5-pound pork butt
- 8 ounces salt
- 2½ ounces dark brown sugar
- 1½ ounces ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili flakes
- 4 tablespoons ground ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 large white onions, sliced
- 2 medium pieces fresh ginger, sliced
- 1 pint white wine
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 2½ pints chicken stock
- 1 quart apple juice
- 1 quart Averna liqueur
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cucumbers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
- 1 red Holland chile, slivered
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
To Assemble and Serve:
- Peanut oil (for frying)
Olive oil (for frying)
For the Averna Pork:
Cut pork into 10 to 12 ounce cubes (you want at least 8 portions). Combine the remaining ingredients thoroughly and then rub into pork pieces. Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat a braising pan to smoking and sear pork pieces on all sides. Saute garlic, onion, and ginger until onion is translucent. Deglaze with wine and reduce liquid by three-fourths. Add bay leaves and stock; then transfer to a baking pan along with pork. Add water to cover, cover top with plastic and then foil and seal edges. Put in oven and bake for 2 to 3 hours, until pork is very tender.
For the Averna Glaze:
Combine ingredients in a pot and reduce by half.
For the Cucumber-Ginger Salad:
Make a vinaigrette by whisking oil into vinegar and seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss cucumbers, chili, and ginger with vinaigrette. Set aside.
To Assemble and Serve:
Remove pork pieces from braising liquid and flash fry in 50/50 peanut oil and olive oil until outside starts to crisp. In a saute pan, heat Averna glaze and add pork pieces. Coat each piece with glaze all over. Put pork in center of plate and drizzle with Averna glaze. Top with cucumber-ginger salad and serve immediately.
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