Salmon with Timut Peppercorns

Timut Peppercorns And Seafood – A Match Made For Summer!

Katherine Loffreto
This time of year (Summer), it’s all about the steaks baby! What’s better than firing up the grill and throwing on a slab of meat until it’s crispy, smoky, and juicy? We’re here to tell you that steaks can be so much more than just hunks of red meat. They can be fish, or even vegetables! Today, we’re here to talk about the seafood variety. That’s right, fish steaks! What’s a fish steak you might ask? Well, when butchering a whole fish, instead of fileting the sides off, then slicing into portions, a fish steak is a 1-2” slice cut directly from the whole fish. The slice has two thick filets on either side with a piece of rib meat or spine bone in the middle. It’s a perfect way to prepare a piece of fish on the grill – the fish holds together better and because it’s a thicker cut, stays juicy and succulent.
You could season your fish steaks with just about anything, but we recommend a fine sea salt and a real quality pepper. When it comes to the pepper, the Timut Peppercorn is best at accenting the unique qualities of seafood, and bringing out all their best nuances. The Timut Peppercorn is perhaps one of the most unusual ingredients you’ll ever encounter. While technically a peppercorn it doesn’t have any of the typical peppercorn characteristics. Instead, it screams of juicy citrus fruit flavors! Notes of grapefruit, lime, and yuzu with an exciting electric zing make this one show stopping spice. Imagine the buzz of a Sechuan Peppercorn with the vibrant freshness of a juicy citrus fruit. According to Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking, the peppercorns are not simply pungent; “they produce a strange tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like the effect of carbonated drinks or of a mild electrical current (touching the terminals of a nine-volt battery to the tongue).” What a wild ride!
This miraculous peppercorn hails from Nepal, where it actually grows wild through the higher altitudes. And here’s the real kicker… it’s not actually from the traditional pepper family (piper nigrum). Instead, it’s the dried berry from a tree in the prickly ash family. It grows wild in immense quantities through the region, and has an annual export of over 800 tons! In the Himalayas, it’s used in the small local villages for chutney, tea, or grinding into masala (a local spice blend).
To prepare, we sprinkled a thick salmon steak with sea salt and Timut Peppercorn as the grill was heating up. We rubbed it with a little olive oil, and then over the coals it went! A quick grill of about 3 minutes on each side is all it takes. Pull the salmon from the grill and allow it to rest as you prepare the accompanying veggies. You can really pair your salmon steak with just about anything, but we prefer some farm fresh veggies. We were able to find fresh tomatoes and fennel from our local farm stand. The fennel bulb was grilled, and the stalks were sliced thin and served as a raw garnish. The tomatoes were too good to grill, so we sliced them into thick wedges and seasoned them liberally with sea salt and olive oil. The dish needed a hearty base to sit beneath the salmon, so we prepared a peppy taboule salad complete with a smear of roasted pepper harissa sauce.
This summer, don’t forget that not all steaks come from a cow! Some of the tastiest steaks come from the sea! And when it comes to seasoning those steaks, you’d be crazy to not use Timut Peppercorns. It’s going to make all your grilled seafood sing with the sweet sounds of summer. Happy grilling!