Celebrating the Green Peppercorn
Poivre vert or green peppercorns smell and taste like what they are, the fresh version of black pepper. To classify this in your mind, think about the taste and aroma of fresh cracked black pepper. Apply the idea of fresh versus dried herbs to pepper. Green peppercorns are not a concentrated essence that you might find in the dried form. They are subtle, yet generous and abundant in pepper flavor. Under normal circumstances I would not pop whole dried black peppercorns into my mouth and crunch them between my teeth. However, with brined green peppercorns, I get a nice burst of peppery flavor with each one.
Practically every recipe we know lists salt and pepper by default and instructs you to season to your taste. There are a few types of dishes where the green peppercorn can play a more pronounced role due to the peppercorn's texture and color. They are a natural in game terrines, for instance, because they provide a nice localized pepper flavor, pretty green color, and will slice easily. Try meatloaf if you're not up to putting a terrine together.
I personally think that pepper and goat’s cheese are natural compliments and any goat’s milk product will get a sprinkling of green peppercorns if I have any say in the matter. Try chopped green peppercorns in goat cheese soufflé! The sauce poivre vert graces everything from pintade to sea bass in contemporary French recipes. I personally love the flavor that green peppercorns give to my Lapin Bonne-Femme (think Hasenpfeffer), or in a reduced sauce for seared duck breast. more ideas-->
Consider garnishing Bloody Maries with green peppercorns for variation or even speared as a replacement for the olive in a classic martini. Don't hesistate to whisk green peppercorns into mayonnaise or vinaigrettes for salads and crudités, or make a green pepper cream cheese spread to top your bagel. A fresh anchoïade or tapenade is given an interesting spin with green peppercorns.
Don’t forget beef and pepper. Instead of roughly crushing a few dried black peppercorns for a mignonette to accomapny a nice juicy steak, try a fresh mignonette instead - roughly chop the same number of green peppercorns you would crush dried. Some people pair green peppercorns with a Roquefort sauce to serve with beef. Last but not least, think Salami! Any dried or semi-dried italian style sausage is worth an accompaniment of a few green peppercorns, and this also applies for Italian-style American deli sandwiches, the kind that get topped with oozy dripping vinegar and olive oil sauce.
This week green peppercorns are in the larder and I will share a few recipes from my kitchen notebook that includes them. Doggerel and her blog got me thinking about this when I convinced her to try some green peppercorns last week.
Labels: Spring 06