A peppermill, or pepper grinder, is a must-have tool in the kitchen.
Freshly ground pepper is to ground and bottled pepper as fresh pressed
garlic is to dried and ground garlic, that is, flat and wholly lacking
in intensity. Fortunately, grinding fresh pepper is a lot easier
than peeling, cutting and pressing whole garlic. All you need to
do is to add a peppermill to your kitchen counter top and keep it filled
with whole pepper corns.
I’ve gone through maybe four peppermills over the years. They
either wear out or get too grungy. Peugeot, in France, has always
made the best selling milling mechanisms and many manufacturers use them.
They work fine but are not precisely adjustable. The one I just tossed
out had a Peugeot mill that wore out only because the no-name manufacturer
misaligned it, with the result that it ground itself up.
there is a better peppermill out there or, at least, a new peppermill of
choice. Cooks Illustrated did a review of kitchen peppermills
awhile back and found the Unicorn’s Magnum Plus was the clear winner
with a superior range of grinds, large capacity and “blinding speed.”
So, I got one last week.
It is a very good peppermill, the best I’ve ever used. It holds a half
cup of pepper corns and, when loaded, has good heft and
balance. The grind is easily adjustable from medium-fine
to course, by means of a thumb screw on the bottom. They
are made in Nantucket by Tom Davis, Inc. As the photo shows,
they come in a range of models from the large Magnum Plus,
to medium sized ones that take a quick-draw holster for
restaurant wait staff, to a pocket sized mill for pepper
addicts. All of them use Italian milling mechanisms.
The big one goes for $45.00 with the lowest shipping and
handling fee ($4.00) I’ve seen in years. They sell
direct at www.peppergun.com.
the years, an annoying design problem with the housing has surfaced.
Namely, the door collar that opens and closes the peppercorn refill
and storage tank, opens clockwise. So, while turning the top clockwise
to grind pepper, the door collar beneath it works itself open with the
annoying result that pepper corns spill out into your sauce, stew or the
floor. Why the Unicorn people can’t redesign the collar to open counterclockwise
remains a mystery. There is a plastic détente that adds friction
to the collar, but it wears smooth over a short period of use.
Last week, while The Little Woman was grinding a generous portion of
Ecuadorian pepper into her cubed pork verde stew, the peppermill door opened
and out came a bunch of peppercorns that got lost in the stew. Maybe
you can bite into a tellicherry peppercorn now and then but the ones from
Ecuador, which I buy from the Spice House people and keep in the small
mill, are very authoritative. Like: Wow! TLW was not amused:
“How long do we have to put up with this?” “Do something.”
“OK.” Please note in the photo the tiny stainless screw that
I installed in each peppermill to keep the darn door closed. Works
fine. Once tapped, the screw backs out easily with a proper sized