Most of my recipes that call for pepper will say “fresh ground black pepper”. Or maybe “coarse ground black pepper”. Sometimes, though, you need cracked black peppercorns. So the handy pepper mill you bought and got hooked on suddenly isn’t enough. Oh great, time for more hardware, right?
Nope. Time for a neat trick.
Start with a tablespoon of peppercorns.
Put them on your cutting board, and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Even better would be to fold the foil in half and put the peppercorns inside. Just like I didn’t do here.
Next, whack on the pile with your meat mallet.
Use the side of the mallet if it’s got large teeth on one side and small teeth on the other, like mine does. Otherwise use the smooth side, if yours is more like this.
Check if it’s cracked to your liking.
And that’s it.
If you’re doing a whole mess of pepper, like for steak au poivre, put the peppercorns in a pie plate instead of on the cutting board. These things are round, and they do like to roll when you whack on them.
In just a couple of minutes I’m going to show what these were used for. Stay tuned.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.