Szechuan pepper, or spice, is a copper-colored berry found on a thorny ash tree which is native to China. The bitter little seeds are removed when the berries have been dried in the sun and the peppercorns then come under the category of the ‘five spices'. It is found in China where there are six known varieties of this spice. Because of its special pepper and lemon flavor, the blend from Szechuan is recognized as the best.
The hint of pepper and lemon provided by this spice gives a sparkling freshness to young asparagus or an artichoke mousse. It is perfect with delicate fish such as sole or salmon and with foie gras or chicken dishes. And, unexpectedly, it complements a chocolate mousse, fresh strawberries or a pineapple sorbet.
Grind the pepper just before using it.