Pepper, Black Half Cracked
1 lb bag $7.30
Half-cracked Black Pepper
Half-cracked pepper is perfect for crusting meat or baking in bread or biscuits. Also for a fuller flavor on salads and sauces.
The most popular and treasured spice in the world (except for salt perhaps), black pepper has been known as “black gold” and used as ransom by Visigoths threatening the moribund Roman Empire. But it is used only sparingly in the country which accounts for the a third of the world’s crop — Vietnam.
Affordable only by the wealthy in Ancient Rome, black pepper started to become commonly used only in the 17th century. After the fall of Rome, Arab traders, then the Portuguese and finally the English dominated the lucrative business of importing it from India to Europe. The Chinese have been using pepper since at least the 3rd centruy BCE.
Half-cracked pepper retains more of the subtle undertones of the peppercorn, which has citrusy, woodsy and floral notes for the discriminating palate. White pepper does not have this richness, and is used mostly as a flavor to blend for soups etc., where visual harmony is paramount.
Black pepper is notable for its digestive, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties. This product can be stored for at least a year if kept in a tight container and between 50º-58º.
Cracked Pepper Shrimp Alfredo
- 6 – 8 ozs. thin spaghetti
- 1 (12-16 oz) bag frozen cooked medium shrimp, thawed and tails removed
- Half a medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped (⅔ cup)
- ½ tablespoon butter (I used salted)
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 4 ozs. (Half of 8 oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used Parmesan-Romano blend)
- ¾ – 1 teaspoon half cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
- Pinch of cajun seasoning, optional
Get everything ready before starting to cook as it goes together quickly once started.
Cook spaghetti in unsalted boiling water until tender.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; add bell pepper and saute just until crisp tender, stirring constantly. Remove from skillet and set aside in a bowl. Reheat the skillet; add shrimp and saute until pink, stirring constantly, adding a dab more butter if needed. Remove to the bowl that the bell pepper is in. Set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet, bring the milk just to a simmer, stirring constantly. Add the cubed cream cheese, Parmesan, cracked pepper, garlic salt and creole seasoning, if using; cook and whisk for 3-4 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and sauce is well blended. Add the shrimp and bell pepper; cook and stir for another 1-2 minutes or just until mixture is hot.
Drain spaghetti well in a colander then add it to the sauce, tossing to combine.
Garnish with additional Parmesan, if desired, and serve immediately.
Leftovers can be loosened with a dab of milk or heavy cream, covered and reheated in the microwave.
Recipe courtesy of Diane V. at Key Ingredient