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One of the things we do really well in Maryland is peppers.  Our soil and climate are perfect for the entire range of peppers, from the mildest to the hottest.

One of Jerry Pellegrino's favorite thing to do with peppers is to whip up some of the classic Mexican salsas.  Here are a few of his favorite.  Some of these ingredients can be found in the Latino bodegas that a scattered around town.

Click here for salsa recipes from Chefs Amy von Lange & Jerry Pellegrino.

Click on the photos above for salsa roja, roasted salsa verde and chile de arbol salsa recipes. 

Salsa negra


One 8-ounce cone of piloncillo (cane juice, reduced to a syrup and hardened)

2 cups water

6 garlic cloves, skin on

½ cup lard

60 chipotle chiles, stems removed

2 cups water


In a sauce pan set over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the piloncillo and, with constant stirring, dissolve the piloncillo completely into the water. Turn of the heat. In a cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat, toast the garlic cloves until the skins begin to burn in places and they become aromatic. Remove and allow to cool. Add the lard to the skillet and allow to heat until just smoking. Working in batches, toast the chipotle about 30 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the piloncillo syrup. Continue until all the chiles have been toasted. Weight the chiles down with a small plate so they are completely submerged and allow to soften for 30 minutes or until they are all soft enough to be easily pulled apart with your fingers. Using an immersion blender, purée the salsa until the chiles have all been blended and no more lumps remain. Set a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the salsa and cook an additional 10 minutes with constant stirring. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
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.