A complete guide to this complex, mysterious and often overlooked kitchen staple.
It’s about time that pepper got its due. With all the fuss over the great varieties of sea salt, pepper has lately slipped into the shadows. No longer. McFadden (The Chocolate Cookbook, 2009, etc.) provides a definitive explanation of all things peppery. She covers just about everything a cook would want to know about pepper: its history, where it grows, how it’s processed, how to conduct a tasting and where to buy the rarer varieties. McFadden adds to this an extensive set of recipes—from the classic Steak Au Poivre to the exotic Peppered Chocolate Truffles—designed to maximize the nuances of the different types of peppercorns. Carmelized Pineapple with Long Pepper and Lime Syrup, for instance, captures the sweet heat of long peppers, while the author’s recipe for Numbing Chicken Noodle Salad takes full advantage of the citrusy fire of the Sichuan pepper. Desserts are perhaps the most intriguing; the Pink Pepper Blondies combine lime, white chocolate and pink peppercorns for a bright yet delicately spicy flavor. Since pepper is traditionally consumed in hot climates to cool the body, McFadden includes a few icy summer treats, such as a refreshing version of the popular Indian beverage Nimbu Pani (lime, pepper, soda water and sugar) and a Devilled Chocolate Ice Cream, a delightfully unexpected combination of rich chocolate and white and black peppercorns.
Lovers of pepper will rejoice over this combination cookbook and history lesson.