I received several different pepper (spice) for christmas. One of them is a white pepper. Whenever I use (very) little of this white pepper in my dishes, the odor/flavor is very dominant cutting out all other flavors. How can I use this pepper without losing the other flavors?

  • Is this the whole peppercorns that you are cracking fresh? or is it a prepared mix? – Zombies Jan 3 '11 at 22:48
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    Similar perhaps duplicate question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/6113/… – talon8 Jan 3 '11 at 23:01
  • @talon8 : I'd say related, but not duplicate, as this one's asking how to actually deal with the difference – Joe Jan 4 '11 at 3:35
  • @Zombies: its whole peppercorns. And yes, I do crack them fresh. – froeschli Jan 4 '11 at 6:35
  • @talon8: thank you for the link. White pepper indeed has a "barnyard" odor. – froeschli Jan 4 '11 at 6:44

It's interesting that this is your experience, since "common knowledge" is the white pepper is milder than black. White pepper is the dried ripe fruit of the pepper Piper Nigrum, and the black is the unripe, cured and dried fruit. Black is usually hotter than white, but generally they are considered to be interchangeable, with the white being used in sauces and in cream dishes for a better look (no black specks).

Since this pepper is so strong for some reason, I would advise that you only use it in dishes that rely on the pepper flavor to the exclusion of others, say steak au poivre, or pepper pot, or salt and pepper scallops.

Other than that you can cut back on the amount or grind it now and let it sit around for a while...pepper has its strongest, best flavor when freshly ground; it kills me to suggest that, but I'm trying to answer your question.

If it were mine, I would try to figure out a dish that this pepper would truly enhance, as I suggested.

  • Thank you for the advice on not using fresh ground pepper. Even it will hurt you to read this, iI will give it a try. Any idea how long to wait before use? Hours? Days? – froeschli Jan 4 '11 at 6:39

One cooking site, writes about substitutes for it: "Black pepper is the best substitute, but the differences between the two in both smell and taste are quite distinctive."

Yes, it is certainly distinctive! Using black instead of white pepper may not be bad, but it will simply make a different dish. For instance in mashed potatoes - should I not have white pepper in my house, I'd simply eat something else and not cook mashed potatoes until I have the proper ingredients for it. My mashed potatoes is spotted anyway, from some nutmeg in it. (But those who are only interested in the color and not in the taste can try maize flour instead of pepper, because it will not color it at all.)

Also most types of fish dishes benefit from using white rather than black pepper.

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