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Melissa Palinkas Recipes

For the big finale of our Hart and Co. X WA Good Food Guide Top Chef Series of 2021, we had the honourable Melissa Palinkas in our kitchen to show us how to cook for our friends and family at Christmas!

As the queen of innovation and sustainability in the kitchen, Melissa brought her expertise to the stage with three game changing dishes to spice up the Christmas spread.

Melissa's Christmas duck, black pepper & bay rub with rosemary stuffing was simply phenomenal. Creative yet delicious, this recipe makes experimenting with new meat a treat!

To pair with the duck, Melissa put together her Peach & heirloom tomato salad, basil, burrata & Ethos fermented tomato dressing, a fresh and tasty addition using the best of WA produce for this season.

Finally, you can't have Christmas without a classic ham and Melissa's Ethos Baked Ham is exactly what you need on your Christmas table. Tender, flavoursome and extremely simple, the guests loved to see Melissa put her spin on this Christmas delicacy.

Order your Ethos ham ready for Christmas (or any occasion) through the Ethos website. Melissa uses a special brown sugar brine which her team has developed over the past few years.

It's always a delight to have Melissa around and she certainly put on a show for the last Top Chef event of the year. Thank you Melissa for the great festive ideas which are guaranteed to impress guests this Christmas!

Melissa Palinkas - Ethos baked ham


  • 1 x Ethos smoked picnic shoulder or champagne ham
  • 4-5 tbsp good honey & a splash of water
  • 10-20 cloves depending on size of ham
  • 2 oranges
  • Pastry brush


Pull your ham out of the fridge 1 hour ahead of baking time, take out of packaging and put onto a tray with grease proof paper under it.

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees.

Score the ham in a criss cross pattern. In each criss cross place a clove in the center of the skin.

Put ham in the oven for 15 mins, remove and begin to baste with the honey water. Place back in the oven and let the ham begin to golden up, repeat process until nice and lacquered.

Remove from the oven and zest the 2 oranges over the ham.

Juice the oranges and add the left over honey water, a pinch of salt and some olive oil to make a dressing.

When serving, place on the side of the ham as a ham dressing with Ethos mustard and chow chow pickle.

Melissa Palinkas - Ethos baked ham

Melissa Palinkas - Peach & heirloom tomato salad, basil, burrata & Ethos fermented tomato dressing


  • 6 large heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 peaches
  • 1 large burrata
  • 6 basil leaves torn
  • Ethos fermented tomato dressing


Chop heirloom tomatoes into random cuts.

Cut peach cheeks off and randomly chop into same size as tomatoes.

Place in a bowl with torn basil.

Dress the salad, place into the center of a bowl, add a splash more dressing.

Place burrata in the center and drizzle with good quality olive oil.

Melissa Palinkas - Ethos baked ham

Melissa Palinkas - Christmas duck, black pepper & bay rub with rosemary stuffing


  • 1 whole 2kg duck
  • Brine
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2lt water
  • Rub
  • 10 dry bay leaves crumbled
  • 2 tbsp toasted black pepper corns
  • Stuffing
  • 4 medium boiled royal blue potatoes
  • 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary chopped fine
  • 1 onion diced finely
  • 1 clove micro planed garlic
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & pepper to taste



Brine water to the boil & add sugar and salt, when dissolved take off the heat, decant into a container and let it cool down. Place in the fridge until it’s completely cold.

Submerge the duck into the brine, making sure the cavity is full of brine. Place a lid on the container and leave for 12 hours. After 12 hours remove and pat dry, rub entire duck with spice mix and place on a baking tray on a rack and refrigerate over night.


Toast pepper corns, add pepper and crumbled bay leaves into a spice grinder and mill to a fine powder.


Boil drain and mash potatoes, add the bread crumbs and combine, add the eggs and the seasonings, onions and garlic, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Roll stuffing into a torchon as per demonstration, place in the fridge to firm up.

Steam on 100 d/c for 15 mins, take out and cool.

Christmas day

The Duck

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees.

Place the duck in the oven and set a timer for 30 mins.

After 30 mins drop the oven temp down to 180 and set a timer for 1 hour and 20 mins.

When duck is cooked, place on a wire rack over another tray and rest for 20 mins before carving.

The Stuffing

Smear butter over a piece of tin foil and wrap the stuffing torchon into it.

Place in the oven on 180 degrees for 15 mins to heat through, remove foil and slice.

Serve duck with some fresh chopped cherries with balsamic and a touch of sugar.

Melissa Palinkas - Ethos baked ham

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