Peppercorns are seed berries and grow in clusters, similar to grapes, on the vine of the plant Piper nigrum, originating from India. They come in several colors which each have different flavor profiles.
Black peppercorns are the most common and readily available form of peppercorns. They are left on the vine to fully mature and develop a stronger flavor profile. They are then left to dry which causes them to shrivel and become dark in color. Black peppercorns have the most pungent flavor of all the peppercorns and are available in whole or cracked peppercorns or ground.
Green peppercorns are young when they are picked and dried; thus resulting in the mildest flavor of all the peppercorns. They can be found freeze dried as well as preserved in a brine. Green peppercorns are best used for flavoring steaks or vegetables.
White peppercorns are simply black peppercorns which have been soaked to remove the outer casing. Due to the soaking process, white peppercorns have a slightly fermented, musky taste and aroma. White peppercorns pair especially well with meats, such as chicken and pork. They are also great for seasoning things like a white sauce where traditional black pepper may ruin its pure white appearance.
Pink peppercorns are not true members of the peppercorn family. They are green berries which grow in clusters on white flowers that form in the fall. They are left on the vine until they become a bright red color and then harvested. Pink peppercorns have a fruity flavor and make great additions to seafood, salads, sauces. Traditionally pink peppercorns are not ground but added whole to dishes, adding a bright, beautiful color.
So when you’re making your meal plan, think about pulling out that popular black pepper and make this light and refreshing Lemon Pepper Chicken tonight!
Lemon Peppered Chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Arrange chicken breasts in a 9- by 13-inch glass pan. Season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
Add lemon juice, lemon zest and lemon pepper seasoning to melted butter. Pour butter mixture evenly over chicken.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
Chef Heather attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was nine years old in her mother’s kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site www.foodonthetable.com .