3 Things I Always Have in My Pantry to Perk Up a Meal
These will become your new secret ingredients.
Weekday meals don’t have to be boring. Even if you’re used to making the same dishes on rotation you can sprinkle on just one simple ingredient to give a dish new life. Keep these three versatile meal-toppers on hand and revolutionize any meal with just one pinch (or two). I can’t live without them.
Dukkah is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes and originally hails from Egypt. It’s a blend of nuts, seeds, and aromatic spices that go incredibly well sprinkled on scrambled and fried eggs, soups and salads, roasted vegetables, and cooked fish and chicken. The traditional blend is made up largely of hazelnuts, sesame and coriander seeds, but most blends have an additional surprise ingredient, like paprika for example, or a different nut in place of the hazelnuts (we love one made with pistachios). Dukkah blends can be found at specialty grocers, but even Trader Joe’s carries it now. We really like this set of three from Clif Family Kitchen that includes the classic, one with pistachio, and another with coconut.
Togarashi is made for those that like a meal with kick. This Japanese blend is typically made with seven spices and, similar to dukkah, ingredients and ratios vary by blend. However, chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, sesame seed, dried orange peel, ginger, and seaweed make up the bulk of it. It livens a bowl of white or brown rice, noodles, soups, and meats. Try it on a halved, pitted avocado, with or without the toast. Add it to spice up that trail mix you reach for at 3 PM or top off a bowl of popcorn with a few shakes. You can find togarashi or Japanese Seven Spice at local supermarkets now thanks to McCormick, but we really like this very traditional one, too.
Last but not least, flaky salt. You’ll see it on both sweet and savory recipes because it adds not only a hit of salt and briny flavor, but added crunchy texture to a finished dish. The soft pyramid-like flakes are loved by chefs and go well with pretty much anything, no matter the type of cuisine. We use a sprinkle to finish soups, salads, steamed or roasted vegetables, sliced grilled meats, and especially anything chocolate. Keep it at your desk for a happier desk lunch and in a bowl at the kitchen table so you can season exactly to your liking. Maldon sea salt is widely available and harvested off the coast of Essex, England. But we also love homegrown Jacobsen Salt Co. from the waters off the Oregon coastline.
RELATED: How To Cook Steak