For some time now, some of my foodie friends and I have been wondering whether white pepper is making something of a comeback….well, I can reliably confirm that it is back. That everyday seasoning that for so many years has done duty on our mother’s and grandma’s dinner tables but somehow got lost over the past decades between her black, pink and red peppercorn brothers and sisters … Lady White Pepper … is back!
Before I share more about the return of the white pepper I need to make it clear that my aspirations for this blog are not to win favour, nor benefit from freebies.This is my journey and my experiences with food. This being said I do believe that good experiences need to be shared, and in this instance I just want to shout if from the top of Table Mountain – if you are looking for a good food and wine experience….this is it … go and experience it at De Grendel Restaurant. It is not an inexpensive outing I might add, but worth saving the pennies just to savour this culinary sojourn through amidst the Durbanville vineyards.
But without further blabbering, let me get back to that somewhat magical afternoon and the white pepper….there we were, Sue-Ann and Ilse from Masterchef and foodie doyen and all-round intriguing persona, Errieda, wine-fundi Samarie, cookbook publisher Daleen and De Grendel’s winemaker Elzette – breathing in the majestic views, soaking up the ambience from table to plate. We laughed, we ate, we drank and toasted our shared passion – we became the absolutely fabulous olympic #chicksthatchow! As Errieda said: “Some chase for gold; others chow for gold”!
Back to the white pepper … I tasted the prime rib with white pepper, pearl onions and broccolini that Errieda ordered and it blew me away. It WAS the best steak and sauce I have ever eaten – the sauce combined with the steak just melted in your mouth with a flash grilled flavour, subtle yet striking. This bite confirmed to me that the sultry Lady White Pepper is back … out of the shadows and back on the plate … she is sexy, sharp. shining and ready to take over the pepper world.
Chef Ian Bergh inspired me so much with his creation that I had to try this back at home – my version was also delicious, simple with a dash of brandy and cream. I tried my utmost to replicate the delicate balance, silkiness and sharpness of their sauce, but I have to confess despite my best efforts I fell short … but please do try my recipe – it is still yum! I served the steak with some beautiful white peppery King Oyster mushrooms.
Welcome back in our pots and on our tables Lady … Viva … Lady White Pepper … Viva!
- 500 g Prime Rib (I used rump but you can also use fillet) –
- White Pepper Sauce
- 1 Small onion – finely chopped
- 1T Olive oil
- 1 Knob of butter
- 1 Clove garlic
- 40 ml Brandy
- 200ml Thick cream
- 3t Fine white pepper ( I even like a little more but be careful, I believe white pepper is deceptively hotter than black pepper)
- Small pinch of salt
- 150 g King Oyster mushrooms – sliced length ways
- 2T Olive oil
- 1T Butter
- ½ t White fine pepper
- Large pinch of salt
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Steak: Fry to your taste. My guidelines - hottest plate, oil, season, +-3½ minutes on each side, rest for 6 minutes.
- Mushroom Sauce: Plate on medium - heat a pan and add the olive oil, butter and add the onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes until nice golden.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Add the brandy to the pan – not too much as you do not want to set your kitchen alight - heat it up and then ignite the brandy with a match. Flambé the steak by letting the alcohol burn off the liquid. Let it burn till finished – it needs to extinguish itself naturally.
- Add the cream, then stir in the pepper along with a pinch of salt.
- Taste for seasoning. Heat through for a minute or two.
- Pass the sauce through a sieve to catch the onions and garlic – I normally use the sieved garlic and onions as a base for the steak and then pour the sauce liberally over the steak just before serving.
- Heat a pan until it is very hot - add the olive oil and butter then add the mushrooms , sprinkle with the pepper and a big pinch of salt. Fry fast for about 3-4 minutes till brown and done.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve hot over the steak.