Surprises are always nice and lately this little city of Jena has been surprising me, from a culinary standpoint more and more. First farmhouse raw milk cheese, then a great artisan bakery and now this. Last Tuesday, after about six month's time from my last visit, I dropped into a local shop selling mainly Indian goods looking for mustard seeds. I couldn't believe my eyes as I noticed a large shelfful of fresh Asian produce: Thai red shallots, various herbs, a few different Chinese greens and so on. Sadly none of those delicious Thai aubergines, sold out in a matter of hours the shop-keeper said. I bought a few different ingredients but what tempted me the most was the green peppercorns. I like the pickled ones but these looked much better: bright green instead of greyish-green, very pretty all bunched up together. And the taste was even better, brighter, fresher and hotter than the pickled stuff. What to do with them?
The original idea was to use them in a Thai curry or stir-fry. Instead I ended up using most of the peppercorns for green pepper filet. I know, green pepper sauce is a culinary cliche' and filet in pepper sauce is so passe' (hey, it rimes :-)): I'm guilty as charged. But what can I do, I just love it. I find the green pepper, brandy, stock and cream combination great. And if it tastes great with pickled green peppercorns it will sure be better with fresh ones. Indeed it did: the sauce was fresher and the pepper flavour more aromatic, with a cleaner taste. If you're looking for a recipe there's one from Epicurious, here. Mine has two major modifications. I use pork filet, cut into tournedos, instead of filet, because I find the sauce to go better with pork. Also, I reduce the cream to 3 Tbsp: I find too much cream masks flavours. Now that my green pepper sauce curiosity has been satiated I promise: next time I'll resist the temptation and use these beautiful fresh peppercorns for a proper Thai dish.