Aside from dried and fresh herbs and spice blends, I rely on certain seasonings and ingredients to enhance the flavor of what I cook. Here’s my list:
- Olives. I add pitted, whole green Manzanilla olives to any dish that needs some briny goodness. I’ve been known to add the liquid from the olive jar to salad dressings and marinades.
- Olive tapenade. The prepared tapenade that I use is a mixture of Kalamata and other chopped olives; add to salad dressings, soups, stews, and casseroles.
- Raisins. When needed, I add raisins instead of sugar to a sauce, soup, or stew to give a bit of sweetness.
- Toasted sesame oil. This oil enhances any Asian dish, salad dressing, or marinade with a nutty earthiness. Good mixed with Sriracha chili sauce.
- Sriracha chili sauce. I adore Sriracha because of its sweet spiciness; try in dressings, marinades, sautés, soups, and stews.
- Balsamic and fruit vinegars. Both white and dark, balsamic vinegar adds a mild, delicious tang to marinades, salad dressings, and any soup or stew. Fruit vinegars are tasty, sweet, and mild.
- Nuts and seeds. I love the crunch and richness that nuts and seeds add to salads and almost anything else I prepare. Stir nut butters into hot vegetables, beans, and legumes.
- Hot sauce. Instead of reaching for the saltshaker, I drizzle hot sauce (Sontava brand) on whatever I’m eating.
- Tahini sesame paste. This paste has a toasty aspect that goes well with beans and legumes (it is a major ingredient in hummus), but it also adds flavor to sauces, soups, and rice.
- Lemon juice. Like vinegar, lemon juice perks up a dish from the doldrums.
- Mustard. Five different jars of mustard—from Dijon to mustard aioli—are open in my fridge because I enjoy the kick and tang that mustard can bring to any dish.
I’d love to know how you enhance what you’re cooking!