Pepper (botanical name: Piper Nigrum) was born in India, on the Malabar coast, in the south-west of the country, a very long time ago. It is a vine that needs a support to grow and belongs to the botanical family of Piperaceae.
This plant, like many others, has traveled and is found today on different continents, in tropical zones. This plant will, after flowering, give small clusters covered with grains ... pepper.
This pepper can be adorned with different colors depending on its degree of ripening, but it is the same plant that gives all the colors.
Green pepper :
It is the fruit picked before maturity. It is found and consumed in different forms: fresh, in brine, dehydrated, freeze-dried, in oil or roasted. It is fresh on the palate and delicately spicy. It goes perfectly with fish, white meats and vegetables.
When the grains turn yellow as they ripen, it's time to pick the black pepper.
The berries are dried in the sun (industrialists prefer ovens), they crumple and turn brown to give us black pepper.
When fully ripe, the berries take on a beautiful red color. Picked at this stage, then soaked in basins of water and stripped of their carnal envelope, these berries become white pepper.
Not to be confused with pink peppercorns, incorrectly called "pink pepper". It is a pepper that has reached full maturity. The grains are picked and dried in the sun, like black pepper.
“Gray Pepper”. He does not exist ! it is actually a mixture of poor quality white and black pepper powder, acrid, pungent and tasteless.
How to store pepper:
Store it in its original packaging away from light, in a dry place, at temperature.
How to grind pepper:
Use a quality grinder to grind your precious grains or crush them in a mortar preferably just before serving.
Which grind to use:
The coarser the grind, the more you will develop the aromas and conversely the finer the grind, the more you will develop the spiciness. It's up to you to choose your camp.
How to use them in the kitchen:
Avoid strong and prolonged cooking which makes the pepper bitter and pungent, causing the most subtle aromas to disappear. Use it on your dish, freshly crushed, when serving and you will enjoy all the aromatic richness of your noble grains.
There is a great aromatic diversity depending on the colors, varieties and origins of the peppers, so it would be a shame to damage them and not take advantage of this richness.
What to pair them with:
Of course, the advice that follows is not exhaustive. You can give free rein to your imagination and try experiments according to your imagination and your desire.
With red meats, fatty fish: mackerel, sardines, anchovies, tuna, eel… with brown sauces and tomato sauces, with pizza, vegetables: Swiss chard, red cabbage, lentils, chickpeas… for your marinades and charcuterie, with white cheeses, and with fruit in salads, compotes, in syrup or jams: strawberries, cherries, figs, peaches, pineapple and chocolate desserts: cream, mousse, fondant, soft cakes, cakes…
With shellfish, with white meats, poultry, white fish, pork, veal, with white sauces, pasta, rice, steamed vegetables, squash, button mushrooms, asparagus, green and white beans, salads and in your fruit-based desserts: orange or pear.
With red fruits, pear, pineapple and exotic fruits, white meats and poultry, fatty fish, poached white fish, cuttlefish.
With chicken and white meats in general, soups, stews, marrow bones, kidneys, lamb, cooked salads, anchovies...in fact, it can replace black pepper.
With mashed potatoes or vegetables, in your pâtés, condiments, gherkins, pickles, with lamb chops, goat cheese in oil, with chocolate desserts, fruit in syrup, compotes of fruit and melon, cherries, quince and pears.
With pigeon, lamb, duck, guinea fowl, fish, shellfish, foie gras and citrus or apricot sorbets. It works wonders with a glass of champagne and tangerine sorbet.
With salads, but he also likes meats and more particularly pork and lamb, but also white fish. It is exceptional on foie gras. Among the vegetables it is the potato that he prefers. It is the ideal companion for white cheeses and is particularly fond of goat cheeses. It is perfect for making pâtés, preserves, gherkins and other pickles, but it is in desserts that you will surprise your guests the most, with fruit, melon, strawberries, cherries, apples and pears and especially with chocolate….