Seven Tips for Cooking with Pepper
Itís All in the Name: For the best flavor and aroma, always buy
premium peppercorns from named regions: Tellicherry, Malabar, Sarawak, etc.
2. Grind Them Yourself: Only buy whole peppercorns and grind them
yourself. When pepper is freshly ground, volatile oils are released,
creating intense flavor and aroma; even a day later, the taste and fragrance
will have dissipated. (For advice on selecting a pepper mill, click
3. Cool, Dark Storage: Store peppercorns, like other spices, away
from heat and light in tightly sealed tins or glass jars. A cool, dark
cabinet or pantry is the right environment. Properly stored peppercorns
will remain fresh for a year.
4. Whole Peppercorns: Whole peppercorns impart a dusky, mildly
peppery flavor to soups and stews. Use them in pates and terrines, or
combine them with cinnamon, cardamom and other spices to make chai,
Indian spiced tea. For a light, citrusy flavor, dry roast black peppercorns
in a skillet over medium heat until they release their fragrance.
4. Cracked Peppercorns: Use cracked peppercorns when a bold,
assertive taste is desired, in dishes such as
steak au poivre,
Singapore black pepper crab, or
grilled pork tenderloin.
To crack peppercorns, place them in a ziplock bag and lightly crush with a
rolling pin or the side of a cleaver. Peppercorns can also be cracked using
a mortar and pestle, but unless the mortar is deep and roughly textured,
peppercorns may bounce out and roll all over the kitchen.
5. Coarsely Ground Pepper: Use coarsely ground pepper to add heat to
grilled meats, chicken and fish; to season pastas, salad dressings and
vegetables; to intensify the sweetness of fruit such as watermelon and
mangos. Tiny nuggets of pepper burst with flavor when sprinkled over smoked
salmon. Blend coarsely ground black pepper with coriander, fennel and cumin
seeds to make a warming sauce for
Black Pepper Chicken.
6. The Other Grinds: Medium and finely ground pepper will disperse
the taste of pepper more widely in any dish. It is the way to use pepper
when a delicate, diffuse flavor is desired, particularly when making spice
cookies and other baked goods.
7. Buy a Good Pepper Mill: Invest in a high quality mill that is
easy to fill, feels good in the hand, and grinds pepper the way you like it.
In the SpiceLines test kitchen, we have four pepper mills: two with
black peppercorns, and one each for white and green peppercorns. For more
on selecting the right pepper mill, click