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The Secret Ingredient (Pink Peppercorn): Pink Peppercorn Tuna Tartare

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

Previously on The Secret Ingredient

Pink Peppercorn and Parmesan Gougères

Last week, I may have intimated (and knowingly) that pink peppercorns are a meek relative of the black peppercorn. But, the truth is, pink peppercorns are not peppercorns at all. They are in fact the dried berries of the Baies rose plant, which my sources tell me are grown in Madagascar and imported through France. You'll often find them in a mixed blend of peppercorns, including black, white, and green. But, beware: they are toxic in large quantities. I love this secret ingredient! So full of danger and mystery. We are definitely living on the edge after March's month of chamomile.

As I mentioned last week, their texture is that of a hollow Easter Egg: a quick crack and they're in smithereens. Their flavor is more aromatically peppery than truly spicy. In both flavor and texture, they are softer than the black peppercorn.

The first time I had pink peppercorns, they were strewn over the top of a marinated raw salmon. So, I incorporated them into a tuna tartare, bright with the juice and zest of sweet orange, punctuated with bits of gentle shallot, and punchy with sherry vinegar. The effect is one of unexpected savory sweetness, studded with the popping spice of the pink peppercorns, which give a beautiful monochrome effect to this dish. I serve them with blue corn chips, on which to scoop up the fish.

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the French in a Flash series for Serious Eats.

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