Black pepper has been a kitchen staple for centuries yet white pepper has largely remained its lesser known cousin. Actually these two spices are more like brother and sister because both peppers come from the same spice berry - they are just processed differently.
Unlike black peppers, the spice berry, from which white peppers comes, is allowed to fully ripen before harvesting.
When ready, the berries are soaked in water for at least eight days. Once the berry flesh has decomposed and softened, it is rubbed or scraped until only core seeds remain. The seeds are then dried until they turn gray or white.
Compared to black pepper, white peppers do not have very strong smell but its taste is more pungent than black pepper.
Its unique piney flavor, along with the base flavor of black pepper, makes their combination a flavorful compliment to clams.
Linguine and Clams in Black and White Pepper Broth
- Coarse salt
- 1/2 pound dried linguine
- 2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped, for garnish
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 pounds Taylor Manila Clams
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- White Pepper to take, freshly ground
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add pasta.
- Cook until al dente.
- Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
- Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon, and let drain.
- Return saucepan to medium-low heat, and add 2 tablespoons butter, the parsley, garlic, 2 teaspoons pepper, and the red-pepper flakes.
- Cook until garlic is soft and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add wine and clams, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover, and cook until clams have opened, about 5 minutes (discard any unopened clams).
- Add linguine, reserved cooking water, pancetta, remaining tablespoon butter, and the lemon zest.
- Toss to combine.
- Season with white pepper.
- Garnish with parsley.