The Herb of the Month for February 2021 is Pink Peppercorns Schinus molle
This fragrant, evergreen plant belonging to the cashew family has white or yellow flowers. The dried pink peppercorns are not related to black pepper but they do have that peppery flavor and are often blended together with the black pepper in culinary creations. The flavor may be described as peppery with a citrus and fruity flavor. Since this fruit is a member of the cashew family, it should not be used by persons with such allergies. The Peruvian peppercorn is potentially poisonous to poultry, pigs, and perhaps calves. Some young children have had adverse reactions to this fruit. At this time, it is the most expensive peppercorn globally.
For those without allergies, the pink peppercorn can be used in both savory and sweet dishes for a complex and harmonious taste. Some exceptional pairings of spices may include, cinnamon, saffron, ginger, and mint among others. It works well with citrus fruit, strawberries, pineapple, beef, chicken, white-fleshed fish, and alliums.
This native of South America has made its way to California and is now commercially grown on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and in Brazil. It has become an invasive plant in parts of the Pacific and Southern North America. In Central America, the whole plants were traditionally used in medicine including as an antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and much more.
SUGGESTIONS FOR USING PINK PEPPERCORNS
- Pink Peppercorns can be crushed with a spoon or knife and do not require the use of a peppermill.
- Be sure to only purchase small amounts as needed to maintain its freshness.
- Pink Peppercorns can be added to your own spice blends for an interesting flavor blend.
- Experiment sprinkling the crushed peppercorns over a variety of sweet and savory dishes.
Pink Peppercorn and Parsley Spaghetti
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 cup reserved cooking liquid from spaghetti
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns
- ¾ to 1 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- Salt to taste
- Cook spaghetti until a la dente, reserving one cup of liquid for the sauce.
- Melt butter and then adding the reserved pasta water, spaghetti, crushed pink peppercorns, and ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese until the sauce develops.
- Season with salt. Add finely chopped Italian parsley, turn and place into bowls.
- Garnish with an additional ¼ to ½ grated cheese and additional crushed pink peppercorns.
Broiled Fresh Salmon Fillet with Pink Peppercorns
- Place your skinless salmon fillet on a baking sheet that can be lined with a silicone mat or foil. Use a generous amount of lemon or lime juice, and garlic salt to marinate for one hour. Sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns.
- Broil for approximately 11 minutes or until done and serve. This simple recipe can be served with more complex sides and refreshing salads.