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.
If there was a theme, it was "buttered toast with everything." Beyond a few language tweaks (tomato sauce = catsup) the food was familiar and comfortable.
Here are a few recipes Jerry got a hold of and they are perfect for the Maryland kitchen. The first one would make use of the Chesapeake oyster.
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
1–2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 slices (rashers) smoked bacon (rindless, finely sliced)
12–24 oysters (shucked)
In a small pan, gently heat the Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, butter, and Tabasco sauce. Stir until combined, then remove from the heat and set aside.
If your bacon is very lean, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon slices until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. When the bacon has cooled, dice it. Place the oven shelf in the topmost position under the broiler. Set the oven to broil and let it heat up. Line a baking sheet with scrunched-up foil to make pockets for the oyster shells to lie in without toppling over. Arrange opened oysters on the foil-lined sheet pan. Top each oyster with a spoonful of sauce. Scatter with diced bacon and broil for about 50 or 60 seconds. Remove from the broiler immediately and arrange on serving platter.
16 ounces Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Sausage (1 package)
1 package frozen puff pastry
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
For the egg wash:
1 tablespoon water
Be sure to follow the directions on the puff pastry package so your dough is thawed properly and is ready to use. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unfold dough onto a lightly floured surface. You should have 2 big squares. Cut each square in half to create 4 long rectangles. Combine the Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Sausage, bread crumbs, milk, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl or food processor and mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Divide the sausage mix evenly into 4 sections and make a long tube down each rectangle pastry (see picture below). Roll the pastry up over the Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Sausage and pinch the seam together. Cut each roll into 4 sections. Place the sections on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking sheet.
Mix the egg wash together and brush each roll with it. Then sprinkle on a little paprika
Bake at 425 for only 5 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake 30-35 more minutes. Drain excess out of the pan part way through the baking time.
The rolls should look puffed and golden and the sausage in the center should be cooked through. Remove from pan onto some paper towels to cool.
These are traditionally eaten plain or dipped in ketchup.
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs or panko for a crustier coating
¼ cup Parmesan cheese plus extra for topping if desired
2 large skinless chicken breast fillets cut in half through the center
¼ cup flour seasoned lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs beaten
1 - 2 cups simple pasta sauce
4 slices medium thick leg ham
1 - 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese or more if desired
chips for serving
Place the chicken breasts between cling film sheets and bash out with a rolling pin or meat mallet until they are about 5 mm thick. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a large bowl. Coat chicken lightly with flour, dip into egg and then breadcrumb mix, pressing firmly. Refrigerate until required. Warm the pasta sauce Heat oven grill to high (or use a skillet with a small amount of cooking oil) and cook the chicken for 5 minutes each side, then remove (keep an eye on them to ensure the crumb coating doesn't burn). Pour half the warmed pasta sauce into a shallow ovenproof dish and top with the chicken. Lay a slice of ham over each cooked chicken breast. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the ham slices Scatter the mozzarella evenly (and Parmesan, if using) over the top, and grill for 3-4 minutes until the cheese has melted (and browned) and the sauce is bubbling hot. Serve with salad, and chips (Fries).
Lamington Sponge Cake
For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
½ cup butter, soft
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (medium in Germany, large in the US)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup milk
For the chocolate icing:
3 ¼ cup icing sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup milk
2 cups desiccated coconut, unsweetened
For the cake:
Bake the butter cake one day in advance as it needs to spend the night in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a square 8-inch baking dish. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl beat the soft butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add one egg, beat well to incorporate, then add the second egg and the vanilla extract and incorporate as well. Set the mixer at the lowest speed. Alternatively add the flour and the milk, starting and finishing with the flour. Beat the mixture only shortly until smooth, do not over beat.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake in the baking dish for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
When completely cool, wrap it well in cling film/ plastic foil and refrigerate overnight. This will help the cake become more stable and crumble less when you dip it in the chocolate icing.
The next day cut the butter cake into regular squares of about 2 inch. Place a wire rack on top of a large baking tray that will catch the possible chocolate or coconut drippings. Sift the icing sugar and the cocoa powder. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan large enough to hold the whole icing sugar and cocoa powder mixture. When the butter has melted add the milk, mix and start adding the icing sugar and cocoa powder mixture while whisking all the time. Add only about 1 cup at a time, whisk well and continue adding the sugar until everything is well incorporated and lump free. Pour half of the chocolate mixture to a bowl and leave the rest in the saucepan. Dividing the mixture in two will help in case the cake crumbles too much. This way you can dip the first half of the cake squares in the bowl and if that gets too crumbly, you can continue with the remaining cake pieces using the fresh chocolate icing left in the saucepan.
Do the same with the desiccated coconut and for the same reason. Put only 1/3 of the coconut onto a plate and when the coconut gets too “dirty” and you have too many chocolate clumps in it, discard those and add some fresh coconut to the plate.
Dip the lamingtons into the chocolate mixture and coat them in coconut one by one.
Work carefully (the cake squares are delicate), but rather quickly. Turn the lamingtons into the chocolate with the help of two forks, then take the square on one fork and let the excess chocolate drain a little before you drop the cake piece into the coconut. Roll the lamington into the coconut with the forks as well, transfer it to the wire rack and continue with the next lamington.
When finished you can refrigerate the lamingtons until set, it will not take long, but let them come to room temperature before serving.