This is one of those dishes which seems to come out somewhat different - but always delicious - every time I make it. I suspect that I include a different combination of herbs and spices each time.
This really does requre the use of an old-fashioned pestle-and-mortar - as well as certain amount of "elbow grease" (physical effort).
I acquired my pestle-and-mortar from the University of Manchester Chemistry Stores (yes, really!) many years ago, and it has stood up to much hard use ever since. If you're going to get one, make sure your get something strong and heavy, since cracking peppercorns really does take a lot of pressure.
For this dish, I use skinless, boneless chicken breasts from the supermarket. Wash the chicken fillets and cut into three long pieces. I like to allow one breast per person, as a main course.
Now prepare the coating. In your mortar, put three teaspoons of peppercorns. You can use either black peppercorns or, even better, one of those "mixed peppercorns" you can get in jars. Using your pestle (and brute force - this is Cooking for Men, after all!), smash up the corns until they are quite finely ground. (You could use a grinding machine, but the pestle-and-mortar seems to give a better result.)
To the ground pepper, add some dried herbs and spices. I try all sorts of things here: rosemary, cumin, thyme, parsley, mint - just about anything you can find lying around on the spice rack. Many of these herbs and spices are quite coarse, so use the pestle again to grind them in with the peppercorns. I always like to add some paprika to add colour. Finally, add some salt - not too much, but enough to season the meat to taste.
Sprinkle a little of the coating into the bottom of a flat dish. Add the sliced chicken breasts, and sprinkle over the rest of the coating. Use a spoon to make sure that every part of the chicken is covered. Leave in the fridge for a while to marinate.
I like to cook this dish on the flat griddle, although I suppose a heavy frying pan would do as well. Get the griddle really hot, and wipe with a splash of cooking oil. Throw on the coated chicken breasts, and allow to sizzle. You may need to add a little more oil from time to time. Turn occasionally, until all sides are blackened and the chicken is cooked all the way through. (Cut into the largest of the pieces to ensure that the meat is not pink in the middle.)