When it comes to herbs and spices – or just seasoning generally – many of us might not think ourselves to be experts. We might know how to go to town on some meat with a meat cleaver, but understanding the different combinations and pairings that work for different herbs and spices, then putting them together in a way that will be tasty and aromatic… that’s beyond us!
BUT things are a little bit different with black pepper. This is one of the few seasonings that most of us already know – and chances are that even if you don’t cook, you will have at some point picked up a salt and pepper grinder set! It’s about the only thing many of us recognize in the spice racks.
But do you know how to really get the most out of it, or where it comes from? Let’s read on and find out.
About Black Pepper
It’s not just you who are more familiar with pepper, black pepper is actually the world’s most commonly used spice! That’s partly because sugar and salt aren’t spices – so using a sugar shaker doesn’t count!
This has been the case for a long time too. In fact, there is some archaeological evidence that people used sugar shakers as far back as 2000BC in India. It’s known that pepper was exported from here, though it’s not sure to what extent that was the case.
What we do know, is that it began finding its way into Egypt relatively early on. IN 1303-1213BC, it was found stuffed into the nostrils of Ramses the Great as part of the mummification process!
The Romans are likewise known to have had a trade in spices around 40AD, with pepper and cinnamon being key things they peddled with their spice grinders back in the day.
Using Black Pepper
To get the most of black pepper, it is useful to understand what it goes well with. In fact, pretty much anything will work well with pepper – from meats to vegetables, to things like egg.
Some popular spice blends using pepper include lemon juice, rosemary, and black pepper for beef, or lovage, celery seed, lemon juice, and black pepper for fish.
An example of a meal where it works extremely well though, is a traditional carbonara. To see how this works, get your apron on and let’s go!
To make this carbonara, you will need:
- One red onion
- One punnet of bacon lardons
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Cheddar cheese (plus a cheese grater)
- Some pasta
- One egg
To make, you will fry up the red onion sliced small on a cutting board along with the lardons. Fry on a high heat until slightly burned and caramelized. Meanwhile, grab one of your sauce pans and start boiling up some pasta. You’ll then add the meat and onion to the pan when it is cooked, grate over some cheddar cheese, and finally crack a single egg over and mix in (toward the end).
You’ll then add plenty of black pepper which will really add to the flavor, and serve with white wine.
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