The Simple Skillet Trick To Get The Most Flavor Out Of Your Black Pepper

From the celebrated chef to the novice cook, one simple concept often guides most recipes: Seasoning is imperative to layering flavors. While cooks have been taught to taste, season, and taste again, the pinch of salt here and the dash of seasoning there is more than just a Salt Bae meme. Seasoning brings out the deliciousness in any recipe. Although season to taste might be a suggestion, that extra dash or two can make the difference in the final bite.

According to Spiceography, black pepper is widely used as a popular ingredient. The earthy flavor qualities can be robust and spicy. Although often seen sitting side by side with salt, the two are different. Unlike the flavor-enhancing salt, pepper is considered a spice. That designation should alert cooks to use the ingredient with a deft hand. Whether used whole, coarsely ground, or a fine dusting, the king of spices can add a seasoned depth to many dishes. But, getting the most flavor out of the black pepper may not be found just by twisting the pepper mill. It might be time to step behind the stove before grinding.

Give black pepper a flavor boost by throwing it into the skillet

While a big whiff of pepper can make some people sneeze, ensuring that the popular spice is fragrant and flavorful before incorporating it into a recipe is important. Max Boonthanakit, the executive chef at Camphor, revealed to People that he toasts his black pepper before putting it in a pepper mill. By adding whole peppercorns to a dry, heavy skillet for three to five minutes, the spice becomes more fragrant, which "leads to a much more aromatic and flavorful bite."

The idea of toasting spices is not necessarily a new one. According to The Spice House, any whole spice can be toasted. Using a dry skillet or cast iron pan, carefully heating spices awakens their aroma and allows the oils to be released. This quick cooking method helps to enhance the flavor. But, a watchful eye is necessary during the cooking process. Over-toasting spices can lead to a bitter or burnt note. It is imperative to not step away from the stove or those fragrant notes could turn sour quickly. After toasting, the spices can be ground, crushed, or used in various ways.

The next time a dish calls for a little cracked pepper, enhance the flavor before that grind. The skillet can hold the secret to more flavorful spices.