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Roasted Sichuan Pepper-Salt Corn on the Cob

Summer is here! And sweet corn from NJ has arrived to the city.  I was first introduced to fresh sweet corn when living in Lake George, NY. That was my introduction to organic, farmer’s market produce, and it changed my whole view on cooking.  WHO SAYS CHINESE FOOD CAN’T BE SEASONAL?

What is Sichuan pepper? The pepper consists only of the dried pepper husks of a woody shrub that grows in the mountain areas of northwestern Sichuan. The dried husks are pinkish red and knobbly on the outside, pale within. The flavor is both numbing and tingly on the tongue.

When a fried chicken or duck is served in a Chinese restaurant it is usually complemented with a roasted Sichuan pepper-salt mix to cut the fat and bring out the flavor of the meat.

  • 6 tbsp whole Sichuan pepper
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • Don’t forget the butter on the corn

–  Combine the salt and peppercorns in a dry, heavy skillet. Stir over medium heat until the salt turns off-white and the peppercorns are fragrant, about five minutes. Do not let the peppercorns scorch.

– Scrape the hot mixture in to a coffee grinder, then process for 1 minute until fine. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the peppercorn husks, then store in an airtight bottle, away from light, heat, and moisture.

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