My favourite kitchen hack
Life-saving flavour boosters in a jar
Sometimes (often?) dinner needs to be get on the table quick (like, 5 minutes ago).
That's when I turn to my favourite kitchen hack for a quick boost of flavour.
It's the trick I use in my kitchen when I'm short on time, or just feeling plain lazy, without wanting to skimp on flavour (because, who wants to skimp on flavour, ever?)
The trick: using a flavour paste as a quick topping, marinade or sauce.
I always have a few jars of such 'flavour bombs' to hand, and use them regularly.
Most of them keep well in the fridge for a while, especially if the top is sealed with a thick layer of olive oil to keep the air out. Some are home-made, some are shop bought.
I'm talking about things like:
- Harissa (Maroccan-style spiced chilli paste, more flavour than heat)
- Miso paste (Japanese-style fermented rice paste)
- Umami paste (the miso concept reimagined, e.g. fermented bean paste)
- Thai-style curry spice paste (note: the spice paste not the sauce), or any other spice paste (Indian, Malaysian, Jamaican...)
- Pesto (any kind: basically minced herbs, with optional added nuts and/or cheese)
- Veggie stock paste (basically veggies minced with salt)
- Sundried tomato paste
- Olive paste (tapenade)
How I use any of them:
- As a quick topping for grilled or roasted fish fillets (or other quick cooking meat like chicken fillets) - just smother on top, like so.
- As a topping for 'meaty' vegetables like aubergine, courgette, squash, cauliflower before grilling or roasting
- For more of a 'herb crust' effect mix with breadcrumbs, or ground almonds (or other nuts)
- As a quick marinade mixed with olive oil and perhaps other flavourings/herbs
- Smothered all over a longer cooking piece of meat
- Mixed into a stir-fry
- Mixed into fried rice
- Mixed into salad dressing or sauce for extra flavour
- Mixed in to mayonnaise or hummus for a quick dip or dressing
- Tossed with boiled new potatoes or smothered over roast potatoes before they go in the oven
Last but not least: I love any of these on toast for a quick snack.
Categories: COOK, LIBRARY