Black pepper has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2 BC and along with other spices had changed the course of world history. Probably the pepper was that led to the Portuguese efforts to find a sea route to China during the Age of discovery and later on it became so popular that adventurers had risked their lives to sail to the “Pepper coast” (Caribbean coast) in the hope of becoming rich from selling it. The popularity of the pepper had grown fast and by the time of the 17th century aristocratic feasts, dinners, receptions, practically couldn’t exist without it thus the tropical peppercorns became a much-prized trade, more expensive than the salt. In that time it was often referred to as “black gold” and used as a form of commodity money as well. According to doctors the pleasant, exotic fragrance of the pepper with its stimulating effects caused a positive mood, and the Epicureans claimed that the different types of peppers were a real pleasure same as the enjoyment of a noble wine.
Probably the saying ”as expensive as the pepper” is also originated from that century but on the other hand because of a peppercorn’s individual size, the term “peppercorn rent” referred to a token payment made for something that is in fact being given. And the expression Pepper sack was used to those businessmen who amassed a huge fortune trading the spices….well
Until the 21st century the pepper with the salt was the happiest duo in the kitchen but in the last decade the pepper started a solo career. That pepper the one that lived with the salt in symbiosis for so long it has turned out that the pepper could be not only used for stews, marinades, meat seasoning, and of course for the meat broth, but it goes excellently well with fruit, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla ice cream and with other sweets.
Pork chops, with peppery cream sauce
Ingredients: 4 slices pork loin or leg, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 onion, 100 ml dry white wine 200 ml stock cubes cooked soup, 100 ml cream, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon green peppercorns, fresh grapes about 12 berries
Preheat oven to 120 degrees. Season the meat with salt and pepper then fry in 2 tablespoons of the oil for 2 minutes on each side. Remove pork from the pan and place into the oven for 20 minutes with its own fat.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion and simmer in a little oil, pour over the white wine and the 200 ml of broth. Simmer everything together for 5 minutes, then pour in 100ml of cream flavored with mustard, add grapes, season with pepper. Remove the meat from the oven and add to the onion mixture, heat it up together, and toss some fresh peppercorn. Season with trimmed spring onion pieces and serve with fries or mashed potatoes.
Vitello di tonnato
Vitello di tonnato, a popular Italian dish, which is made from thiny sliced of veal, marinated in white wine, flavored with onion and celery, and enriched with tuna fish with a sauce and with peppercorns (egg yolk, sardines, olive oil, white wine, lemon juice and a mixture of tuna, capers and peppercorns added).
Ingredients: 750 gr veal, 2 carrots, 3 potatoes 2 celery stalks
2 medium-sized onions 1 clove, 2 bay leaves, oil, parsley, 1 glass of white wine
to the sauce: 3 egg yolks, 1.5 cc of lemon juice, 2 dl oil, 200 g tuna (can), 50 g caper with juice, 3 p anchovy or paste, salt, pepper
Peel the onions, the carrots and the celery. Wash and peel the potatoes. Make a broth on the usual way from 2 liters of water, vegetables and meat, pour in soup white wine and flavor it with the bay leaves. After 15-20 minutes, strain the soup and remove meat, cut into thiny slices. Keep the vegetables for garnishing.
Prepare the sauce (it should be mayonnaise like), but instead of sour cream a little bit of water should be added.
Beat the egg yolk, press the lemon juice and season with a little bit of salt. Pour lemon juice over egg and continue to stir with a fork until smooth, then add the oil, very slowly, almost drop by drop. When the sauce begins to thicken, add the remaining oil. Break the tuna fish with a fork, add the anchovies and capers, (chopped), but set aside some nice pieces. Place the cooked meat on a plate with the tuna then pour the sauce over and serve with the cooked vegetables (potatoes and carrots).
Goat cheese with pepper and tarragon, pepper and pear beefsteak
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons olives, 1 tablespoon carraway seeds, 3-4 cloves, 4 tablespoons black pepper, 4 slices of goat cheese, 1 packet of fresh tarragon
Mix the honey with the oil and add the 4 tablespoons of peppercorns. Cover the goat cheese with this honeyed-pepper mixture. Wash the fresh tarragon and sprinkle on the cheese.
Pepper and apple chutney
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon green pepper, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, 2 Limettes, 1 kg of apples, 150 g sugar, 12 juniper berries, 1 tsp salt, 100 ml of apple juice
Crush the Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar. Then roast all pepper sorts in a pan, except the Sichuan peppercorn, without adding any fats or oils. Wash the lime under hot water, grate the rind onto wine, then squeeze the lemon juice into wine. Peel the apples and grate them. Cook in a saucepan the lemon-wine and apple juice with a pinch of salt, flavored with sugar, juniper berries, and add the grated apple too it. Then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. When the time is up spoon chutney into a jar (when it is still hot) and cover.
This apple chutney makes excellent side dish of venison and goat cheese appetizers.
Choco mousse with peppercorn
Ingredients: 150 gr choco fondant, 100 gr cream, 100 gr egg whites, peppercorn
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Place eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters for 5 minutes, or until mixture is pale, thick and doubled in volume. Fold in cooled chocolate and cocoa powder until combined.
In a separate bowl, whip cream until thickened (be careful not to over-beat) add peppercorns to cream. Use a large metal spoon to carefully fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, trying to keep the mixture as light as possible. Spoon into 6 serving glasses and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving, then top with extra whipped cream, grated chocolate to serve.
Currently Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper