Jerry Pellegrino | WYPR

Jerry Pellegrino

Host, Radio Kitchen

Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate.  His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology.  His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.

His restaurant is set in a quaint 1849 rowhouse in Baltimore's Historic Federal Hill and he has transformed it into what Baltimore Magazine called "a miniature utopia for wine lovers".  But wine is just half of the equation. Corks is a restaurant where diners can be swept up in Chef Pellegrino's passion for food and wine and discover the distinctiveness of ingredients and the way they work together.

Chef Pellegrino is a member of the local board for the American Institute of Wine and Food, Vice Chancellor Culinare of the Baltimore Bailliage of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and often featured in cooking segments on local television.  Under his guidance, Corks has been named one of Baltimore's top 65 restaurants every year since opening in 1997 and has been given "The Wine Spectator" award of excellence.

Ways to Connect

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It's no secret that our Maryland farmers are cranking out the year's best produce right now. Every time Al visits the market and sees table after table of gorgeous fresh vegetables, he starts ransacking his brain for ideas on how to cook and serve it. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has said that one place to look for inspiration is the Mediterranean, where fresh vegetables are the cornerstone of cooking.

All About Corn

Aug 6, 2019
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The simple words "corn on the cob" are enough to get nearly anybody lickin' their chops.  Toss in references to butter and salt and you'll hear people's tummies rumbling from down the street.  Here in Maryland we cherish our corn, but since a lot of folks still call it Silver Queen, perhaps a little Corn 101 is in order. Chef Jerry Pellegrino is the go-to guy for this information.

Melon Magic

Jul 23, 2019

During the warm summer months Al tries to start every day with a bit of melon for breakfast.  Since he can usually get four servings out of a single melon, he doesn't have to repeat a variety until some time in late September. Once only the preserve of cantaloupes and ice box watermelons, Maryland farmers are now producing an incredible variety of exotic and delicious melons. As Chef Jerry Pellegrino has learned, there is a lot to choose from.

Here's some melon basics: the melon world is divided into watermelons and muskmelons. The biggest difference is seeds. In a watermelon, the seeds are spread throughout the fruit. In a muskmelon, the seeds are held in a web-like structure called the placenta, in a central cavity in the melon. Each type comes in a bewildering number of varieties.

Here are a few of the most interesting muskmelons.

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What a great time of the year for fans of Maryland's farmers markets. This is high summer, and the stalls in the marketplace are groaning with fresh produce. Al made a tour of the Waverly farmer's market last week and took some notes. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, at this time of year, if you can't find it in the market, you probably don't need it.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out that we here in Maryland are swimming in fruit. From here on out, each week's harvest is going to include all manner of locally grown fruit in a bewildering variety.  And  aside from munching on a peach, there's a lot of ways of making use of this wonderful bonanza, especially if you're inclined to make a fresh fruit tart.

Tomorrow is our great national holiday and I'm willing to bet the ranch that grills all over the state are going to be fired up.  Hot dogs and hamburgers may be fine, but for a big feast you want to go with the heavy artillery:  succulent cuts of beef in all their glory. But grillers, take note: Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, you can't treat all cuts of beef equally.

Here are some tips for grilling beef steak, our favorite option.

Al and Chef Pellegrino give some ideas for summer salsas you won't be able to stop snacking on! 

Shallots

Jun 12, 2019

Al and Chef Pellegrino offer some ideas on how to use shallots with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, fish and more! 

This is high season for salad lovers, so what better time to be creative and make your own salad dressing! Al and Chef Jerry give some tips and tricks. 

One of the stalworts of the spring growing season is spinach. The recent cool weather has been perfect for farmers and you can tell by all the spinach that's available at the markets. In this episode of Radio Kitchen, Al and Chef Jerry give us recipes for spanikopita, shakshouka, spinach lasagna, lamb and spinach, and more! 

Summer Salads

May 21, 2019

With warmer weather here our thoughts naturally turn toward lighter dishes, especially salads.  Not only can a salad be a concoction of greens and vegetables, there are a handful of classics that involve one protein or another.

Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, these rudimentary preparations all start with the mayonnaise, and therein lies opportunity.

Here is the Schola Cooking School recipe for homemade mayonnaise and several ideas for tempting summer salad.  And remember, they all taste best when you use fresh quality locally grown ingredients.

The season of spring lends its name to all manner of food.  Spring onions, spring rolls, and especially spring lamb.  Just coming into the market at this time of year, spring lamb is a succulent flavorful meat that fits in perfectly with this season of gentle dining.  And spring lamb has a well deserved reputation for being far milder than its more mature associate, the tough old leg of mutton.

Let's take a look at the classic cuts of lamb and what they are best used for.

 

Every time Al sees a TV show or a movie set in New Orleans his mouth starts to water.  Along with the obligatory shots of Bourbon Street and funky jazz clubs, there will be depictions of folks tucking into big plates of gumbo and shrimp étoufée. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, there's no denying it: the cuisine of New Orleans is mighty tempting.

There is certainly something about spring which calls for gentle cooking methods. And one of the gentlest was invented by the French. It involves cooking food in paper, believe it or not, better known as cooking "en papilotte." And Chef Jerry Pellegrino says this is a pretty unique way to prepare food.

If travel is one of the finest ways to broaden our minds, then Chef Jerry Pellegrino must have one of the broadest minds in Baltimore. The reason being, Jerry has gone about as far away as a man can get from our city on the Bay. He made it down to Melbourne, Australia to visit with his fiancées family.

While in The Antipodes, Jerry got an eyeful of the Australian way of eating.

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Chef and Al talk about the endless possibilities for delicious french toast, from sweet to savory.

Artichokes

Apr 8, 2019

As the spring markets open up, we'll start seeing some old friends. The artichoke is coming back for a few weeks, and it's a time to enjoy this surprisingly versatile vegetable.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino jokes, a lot of people just sort of look at an artichoke and say, "yeah, what do I do with it?"

Well, quite a lot actually. First the anatomy. An artichoke is actually a thistle flower that hasn't blossomed.  It has multiple layers of leaves with significant flesh at their base, clustered sightly around the thistle down "choke" which is inedible. The principle producers are Spain, France, Italy, California and Mexico.

Get a recipe for stuffed artichokes below. 

It is now officially spring, even if the earth hasn't entirely shaken off winter.  Be that as it may, Al thinks this is a very optimistic time of the year, especially for lovers of locally grown food. One of the first things we'll be able to do is rustle up a bunch of greens and make some salads.  Which is why Al and Chef Jerry Pellegrino invited their great friend Liz Nuttle to join us today.

Baking Tips

Mar 19, 2019

The weather is just starting to warm up a bit, and our collective sap is starting to rise. If you feel like taking on a few little projects in the kitchen, it's a good time to start baking. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has some timely tips for our listeners.

Cauliflower

Mar 11, 2019

A few weeks ago our friendly neighborhood nutritionist Courtney Ferreira was on talking about healthy choices in eating. One thing she mentioned was cauliflower, which is apparently quite a little nutrition bomb.  And Al and Chef Jerry Pellegrino agree that cauliflower may have gotten something of a bum rap and being way too bland.

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Somebody once said that paprika was the most mediocre of all spices. What??!! Well Al supposes that if paprika to you is nothing more than the red stuff on a deviled egg, well then fine. But Chef Jerry Pellegrino, warms us not sell this fabulous spice short!

Paprika is nothing more than ground up red peppers, reduced to a powder. This started in the ancient Americas, was brought back to Spain in the 1500's and then eventually spread throughout the world.  Hungary, India and China all have paprika in their cuisines.

Today many would argue that the best paprika still comes from Spain, where it is called "pimeton".  But world-wide, there are several types.

In deep mid-winter it does get hard to work locally grown food into our cooking.  Some smart folks have put up preserves or done some pickling, but most of us are having a little trouble eating local.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out that if you can get to one of the year-round farmers markets, there are definitely some things we can toss into our market basket.

Here in the last few weeks of winter it's hard to imagine that we can support our local farmers, but with several farmers markets open year-round around the state, it's possible to do just that.  This is the season of the root vegetable, the heartiest and most die-hard of Maryland produce, the food that just keeps on giving.  And Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School will tell you, perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy winter root vegetables is in a root vegetable soup.

Right this moment in the dead of winter, we need to remind ourselves  that warmer days lay ahead. Our poor old backyard grills are in sorrowful hibernation, just counting down the days until we fire them up for a barbecue. But why wait? Chef Jerry Pellegrino loves grilling and making barbecue.  But one thing that impresses him is that as you go around the country, barbecue means different things in different regions.

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Audio coming soon. 

Ever since Al bought a pasta making machine, he loves trotting it out every now and then and whipping up a few yards of fresh pasta. Good enough. But when he compared his little strips of fettuccine with some of the complicated shapes he sees at the store, he got the feeling that he could be doing better. In this episode of Radio Kitchen, Chef Jerry Pellegrino, a great fan of home-made pasta, tells us how we all can have more fun with it.

Cynthia Glover

Jan 28, 2019

Traveling has always had a big impact on the way Al Spoler eats. As he moves around the world in his travels, he encounters all sorts of new things to eat, many of which he attempts to replicate back home. Al and Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School invited Cynthia Glover, one of their favorite travelers, to be join them for this episode.

We've been on a eat healthy kick lately, and I hope we stay there. One popular item that will keep folks on track are boneless chicken breasts and thighs. But as Chef Jerry Pellegrino says, boneless chicken breasts and thighs are pretty boring. Nevertheless, he rounded up a bunch of recipes that feature this heart-healthy ingredient. Here they are.

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We're one week into the new year and already the resolutions are starting to pile up. Al's gym at the Y is jam-packed with new faces all intent on treating their bodies better this year. Chef Jerry Pellegrino and Jerry note, a lot of resolve goes into changing our eating habits, which is why we invited nutritionist Courtney Ferreira to join us for today's Radio Kitchen.

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To anyone who is up and listening to our show today, congratulations! You've gotten the new year off to a good start.  Something that has always fascinated me are new year's traditions. With the help of Chef Jerry Pellegrino, let's see how many we can think of during these first few hours of January the First.

From the American south come quite a few traditions for our first meals of the year. Black-eyed peas, collard greens, corn bread, and pork are guaranteed to get your year off on the right foot. The old, famous dish of Hoppin' John seems to have be created just for this purpose, and is a wonderful cold weather dish.

 

 

To our friends who are celebrating Christmas this morning, we wish you joy of the season. Of all of the traditions that surround holiday dinners, one of my favorites is the plum pudding. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino agrees that there is nothing as tasty as a well-made classic plum pudding, preferably one that uses a recipe from the time of Charles Dickens.

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