Consider your cooking habits for a moment: do you always reach for the salt? Are you a spice master?
Take stock of what exactly you use most often in your go-to recipes and the buy two of everything to store in your pantry. But, before you go shopping, consider adding these basics to your list:
1. Sea Salt
Salt is an amplifier, it binds flavor molecules and helps to build a delicious profile in every bite. Try a larger grain sea salt, or some kosher salt in your next dish.
2. Freshly Ground Pepper
Either invest in a pepper mill and stock whole peppercorns, or you can purchase the kind that comes with a grinder built into the lid. For fuller flavor, go with dark peppercorns.
3. Olive Oil
A good quality olive oil can change your live. It's all about versatility, so the oil you buy should be delicious as a bread dip, a salad dressing or a sauce. You'll want to buy the extra virgin variety that has a buttery, fruity and peppery flavor.
4. White Wine Vinegar
Maybe you use red vinegar, but we promise that if you stock up on this staple, you'll be glad you did. The white wine variety is slightly fruity, a little sweeter and fresher than it's darker cousin. Use it as a deglazing agent, in braises and vinaigrettes.
5. Long-Grain White Rice
With a higher starch level than shorter grains, this rice will help to make thicker soups and is one of the most versatile carbohydrates you can cook with. Toss it with some stir-fried veggies, or blend it into a tasty pilaf.
6. Canned Tomatoes
Normally, the advice would be to always buy fresh, but sometimes they're just not ripe enough. If you're in a pinch for what to make with dinner, tossing a can of diced tomatoes together with your favorite spices and some chopped veg makes for a hearty ragout that's sure to fill you up. Just make sure to buy the unsalted variety.
Do you have any pantry staples that you can't live without?
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