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.

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We want to wish everybody a happy Saint Patrick's Day, in some respects the last hurrah of winter and the first salute to the coming Spring.  Here in the States we have a few traditional accompaniments, such as corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, and lots and lots of Guiness.   Chef Jerry Pellegrino has collected a number of recipes straight for the Auld Sod itself.

 

 

 

 

 

We want to wish everybody a happy Saint Patrick's Day, in some respects the last hurrah of winter and the first salute to the coming spring. Here in the states we have a few traditional accompaniments, such as corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, and lots and lots of Guiness. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has collected a number of recipes straight for the Auld Sod itself.

With spring just days away, it's not to early to start thinking about renewing one of the season's most succulent dishes, roast leg of lamb.  You can go two ways with this roast, either bone-in or boneless.  As it turns out, both Chef Jerry Pellegrino and I prefer the flexability of the boneless cut, although there is a time and place for a big old bone-in leg of lamb.

Last year when I went to northern Italy, I took a cooking class that taught us how to make fresh pasta by hand. The process is simple to learn, but mastering it is another question. As it happens Chef Jerry Pellegrino received wonderful book  from our friend Cynthia Clover that shines a light on the complexities of a simple dish.

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With Valentine's Day right around the corner a lot of us start thinking about  shopping for some kind of sweet treats for our sweethearts.  So if a box of candy says something, imagine what a box of homemade sweets would say. Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, this can be a very rewarding project to take on.

I'm a little puzzled why folks don't eat duck more often. It's not hard to find. It's affordable. It tastes great. But it is a tad tricky to cook, but only a tad. Winter is a great time of year to dig out a recipe for duck and give it a try.

Just because Maryland's farm fields aren't green this time of the year doesn't mean you have to stop eating locally.  In fact it's high season for some of our most delicious vegetables.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino and I are big fans of root vegetables, which happen to be packed with flavor and nutrition.

I'm friends with quite a few young folks in their 20's who are just starting out, and for many, cooking is a mystery. To them, my first piece of advice is, don't worry, that's how we all started. My second piece of advice might be to start with something pretty basic and useful: classic winter stews. Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you there are a few basic tips that will come in handy not just for this winter, but for the rest of their lives.

Here in Maryland it seems completely appropriate that our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay, is the home to one of the greatest fish in the whole world:  the celebrated rockfish. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, the rockfish is hands-down one of the best tasting fish you'll ever come across.

Caviar Rundown

Dec 31, 2019
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Tonight's the big night and there's still time to go out and do something crazy to help ring in the new year.  For that portion of the population with refined and cultivated taste, nothing quite beats caviar for putting a big exclamation point on evening's festivities.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino believes, it pays to know what you're talking about when it comes to caviar.

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As our collective holiday season reaches its climax, it's a great time to consider a few of the traditions that make it so enjoyable. In our Jewish community, this is the time of year when a tasty annual practice comes to the fore: the baking of Jewish holiday cookies. 

Pizza Guy

Dec 3, 2019
Brittany Krempel

With the holidays coming the opportunities for family fun are abundant. With the kids hanging out getting underfoot, it's a good idea for parents to have some kind of group activity to keep the young people occupied and happy. Chef Jerry Pellegrino can tell you from experience, home-made pizza night is a great idea. And who better to talk about the intricacies of pizza than Will Fagg of Tiny Brick Oven in Federal Hill.

Winter Legumes

Nov 13, 2019

One of the benefits of living in an agriculturally enlightened state is that all our farmers practice crop rotation of one kind or another. Crop rotation means that we plant a variety of things that alternately deplete and then replenish the soil. And one of the best ways of building the soil back up is to plant legumes. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out, the good news is, we can eat a lot of these winter legumes, particularly the beans.

These beans of winter almost always come to us in a dried form, which means we have to re-hydrate them.  Jerry outlines the process.

So the days have gotten really short, and the night has gotten so much longer, and I for one am standing in the need of a little comfort. When Chef Jerry Pellegrino told me he wanted to talk about bread pudding, I was all ears. In my book, bread pudding is pure comfort.

Last week I started talking about my excellent Italian adventure in Piedmont, in the foothills of the Alps.  One of the most exciting parts of the trip was a visit to the Il Melograno Cooking School in Turin where Chef Giadda Bosco presides. And I don't have to tell you, Chef JP, that taking a cooking lesson is a thoroughly enjoyable thing to do.

I was in Piedmont, Italy last month on a tour featuring food and wine. As you might expect, it was nothing less than inspirational. At one restaurant in Turin we had an opening course of three fabulous appetizers: Caponata, Vitello tonnato, and Crespille ricotta e basilico. And, not only are these wonderful starters, they're easy to make.

A few weeks ago we were looking for something different in the protein department for dinner, and my girlfriend Vickie suggested we make some meatballs. So I bought the fixings and made them up, and they were pretty good, but Chef Jerry Pellegrino tells me could have done better.

 

Watching a Ravens game is very much a sacred ritual for me. I have to have my man cave set up just right.  I have to have the right beverage and of course, I have to have the right food. So of course several times a season I fix up some hamburgers for the crowd. They're usually pretty good, and nobody complains. I told Chef Jerry Pellegrino that I could be doing better. So he came up with just a few simple hints that should really help.

Fish Tacos

Oct 1, 2019

It's no exaggeration to say that Mexican and Hispanic food have become well established parts of our cuisine. Folks who have traveled south of the border have encountered incredible variations on the rudimentary dishes we can get here.  One of the most popular of authentic dishes to emerge is fish tacos. Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out that Marylanders should be thrilled to find another use for our splendid seafood. 

Jerry suggests that whatever fish you select, you pan fry it and then cut it into long slices that can run the length of the tortilla. Pico de Gallo sauce and Salsa Roja are traditional accompaniments.

As summer wanes and autumn arrives, the thoughts of many of us turn to beer, as in Oktoberfest. Something about the crisp chill in the air goes well with malty, hoppy, frothy mugs of beer. And if you are a dedicated fan of the suds, you probably have figured out that you can go beyond drinking it. Chef Jerry Pellegrino has a few thoughts about cooking with beer.

Conventional wisdom in Chesapeake Bay Country holds that September is actually the best month of all for crabs.  After all, they've had all summer long to get fat and happy, and supplies are never more abundant.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino has a few ideas about all this bounty from the bay. Here are a few recipes.

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The farmers markets are jam packed with tons of fresh Maryland tomatoes these days, so it's a great time to start thinking about how to capture that summer goodness for future use. Chef Jerry Pellegrino says that whipping up a big batch of tomato sauce is an excellent idea.

It occurred to me that there are probably as many recipes for tomato sauce as there are little Italian grandmothers, bless their hearts.  So I decided to go on-line and look into all the variations I could think of.  And believe me there were a lot.

Harissa

Aug 27, 2019

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use peppers, since they grown so well here in Maryland.  Recently, I was in a Mediterranean-themed restaurant where I ordered a small bowl of "harissa-red pepper dipping sauce." It arrived with a slice of warm pita bread, and as I told Chef Jerry Pellegrino, it was love at first bite.

I have heard of harissa, the fiery red seasoning from North Africa, but I hadn't actually tried it.  In this context, it was served up in a roasted red pepper mole.  So a little research was in order. 

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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! 

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