The pink peppercorn looks like pepper and is sometimes sold along with white, black and green peppercorns in a mixed packet but, unlike the other three, which are the dried fruit of the Piper nigrum shrub in different stages of ripeness, it is harvested from at least two plants that are unrelated to the pepper family. Also called poivre rose, the pink peppercorn's colour, texture (it has a delicate crunch) and flavour - sweet, aromatic and only slightly peppery, without the "hotness" of true peppercorns - make it seem frivolous. There are times, however, when you want just a subtle pepper flavour, and pink peppercorns are particularly suited for desserts and seafood dishes. I like to crush pink peppercorns then infuse them in hot cream before straining the mixture and using it to make white or dark chocolate ganache or mousse. The peppercorns are also good in an easy fish carpaccio: very thinly slice some sushi-grade hamachi and lay it on a plate. Infuse some lemon zest in extra-virgin olive oil, then drizzle this over the fish. Lightly crush some pink peppercorns and scatter over the fish, along with snipped fresh chervil and rough-flaked sea salt. There's some concern that pink peppercorns can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Rest assured, though, you'd have to consume a lot of them to run the risk of that happening.