I like syrups and sauces. They can be focused additions to a dish or part of a mixture to create a universal whole. While working on a dish this morning which did not come to fruition, I was thinking about the placement of flavor. With these thoughts bouncing about, I jumped to the idea of a black peppercorn puree. I loaded the pressure cooker with some peppercorns, salt, water and sugar. We cooked the mixture for about twenty minutes and then let the cooker cool. When I opened it up we had some tenderized peppercorns and a viscous black pepper infused and stained syrup. Since my initial idea was to make a puree of peppercorns, I loaded up the blender and let it rip. I needed to add a touch more water to make everything move along. I strained the resulting mixture and had more of a peppercorn broth than puree. Yet, this broth or light sauce is quite amazing. It is spicy, floral, sweet and salty. I think it may be used in some other applications like black pepper ice cream or peppercorn yogurt. It can also be used as a brushed on sauce for steak, duck, foie gras or sweetbreads. The key is in being aware of its strength and thus being discrete with its application.
In the future, I believe that I should add more water to the pressure cooker so that I can cook the mixture longer which will further tenderize the peppercorns next time. For now, we have a great platform to work with.
* After letting the mixture rest while I wrote this post I have this one last thought, it is spicy. This is a super intense version of black pepper, one which I have never tasted before though am quite happy to have in our arsenal of ingredients. I must just be careful.