Top 3 Answers: • Salt• Celery• Vinegars/Acids
“TIME”: If you add a little more “time” to your dishes they will taste much better. Whether it be with marinading meats to making broth, if you are patient and give it the proper “time,” you won’t need to add so much salt and sugar. It could even be as simple as giving your pan or grill “time” to heat up properly to make sure you get a good sear on your meat. —Duy Nguyen, David Le & Bao Nguyen, Eaters / Co-Owners, Pho Lang Thang
Salt. Sometimes people forget that in pastry. It is very important to balance flavors and keep things from being overly sweet. I have eaten a lot of desserts that would benefit from just a little salt. —Megan Ketover, Pastry Chef, Orchids at Palm Court
In most commercial kitchens there is a severe lack of good butter usage. We cook in pasture-raised local butter almost strictly, and I finish pretty much everything with a bit of it stirred in. —Todd Hudson, Owner/Executive Chef, The Wildflower Cafe
Soy sauce (although it’s a very common ingredient). We use it to deglaze meats and finish sauces. —Todd Kelly, Executive Chef, Orchids at Palm Court
Acid is clearly the most underutilized ingredient in the kitchen. Acid can mean anything from lemon or lime juice, to various different applications of vinegar. Salt and acid should never be primary flavors in a dish, yet they should be utilized as tools to enhance the flavor composition of a dish. —Dave Taylor, Chef/Partner, La Poste
Kale. I just love it in salads, omelettes, soups, etc. Not only does it have great flavor but its really good for you! —Joanne Drilling, Culinary Editor, Edible Ohio Valley Magazine
Celery (underappreciated, that is). One of my favorite salads, so simple and rustic, is very thinly sliced celery with the leaves tossed with lemon juice and olive oil and topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Crunchy and refreshing, try it in the summer under a pailliard of chicken grilled with herbs. We use celery in braises, for soups, for roasting poultry. Our kitchen is not complete without it, but it never gets its day in the sun! —Renee Schuler, Chef/Owner, Eat Well Celebrations and Feasts
The stems of cilantro. They are amazingly sweet without that “soapy” cilantro flavor. Much more delicate. —Owen Maass, Executive Chef, Cumin
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