Deepen the flavor of ground black pepper by smoking with mesquite chips. Use to prepare a buttermilk dressing for spinach salad with pears, walnuts and blue cheese. In the summer, substitute seasonal peaches or nectarines or the pears.
For the Dressing, mix mayonnaise, buttermilk and sour cream in medium bowl. Stir in vinegar, garlic, smoked black pepper and onion salt until well blended. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
For the Spinach Salad, toss spinach, pears, red onion and walnuts in large bowl. Divide among salad plates. Sprinkle with blue cheese. Serve with Dressing.
To smoke spices: Spread 1 cup fine mesquite wood chips in cast-iron skillet. Heat on high heat about 10 minutes or until wood chips start to smoke. Reduce heat to low. Place small baking rack on top of wood chips. Spread coarse ground black pepper in small shallow disposable aluminum pan or foil muffin baking cup. Place pan on rack. Cover skillet with lid. (In order to keep the smoke in, lid should cover skillet tightly. If necessary, place aluminum foil over skillet first then cover with lid.) Smoke 30 minutes. Turn heat off. Let stand 1 hour or until cooled.
• Dressing yields 2 cups. You will need 1 cup for the Salad. Store leftover dressing in refrigerator up to 1 week. Serve over green salad, as a dipping sauce for chicken wings or chicken nuggets, or toss with pasta salad.