Published November 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.
We often recommend toasting whole spices before grinding them to intensify their taste, but what about black pepper? Is it worth the trouble to toast whole peppercorns before you put them in your pepper mill? We took two batches of Kalustyan’s (our winning brand of peppercorns), toasted one in a dry skillet and left the other alone; and tasted each plain, ground over scrambled eggs, and crushed and pan-seared in steak au poivre. The untoasted pepper won every test.