Making it Flavorful
You might not even have to think about it — your go-to spice in your kitchen. After salt, that one you never put away because you’re just going to use it again and again and again. We asked the restaurants on our food tours what that spice is for them.
Sandia Hoormann, pastry manager at Piccione Pastry, the final stop on our Delmar Loop food tour, answered vanilla as one of her favorite spices to use.
She said, “It’s subtle, but can make a huge impact on desserts.”
And, interesting to note they use two variations of vanilla — the standard vanilla extract and also a vanilla bean paste.
“The paste gives a more pronounced punch of flavor to any dessert item,” Hoormann said, noting they use both types in several of Piccione’s recipes.
You might be able to guess what Salt + Smoke’s go-to spice is. They use it so much, it’s in the name of their restaurant. Yup — salt.
Executive Chef Haley Riley said they use it on just about everything at Salt + Smoke, “We use it to bring out flavor and elevate dishes. We brine our pork and chicken and allow those seasonings and salt to season dishes from the inside out.”
Riley went on to say he discovered salt “basically at birth,” and “you can’t live without salt.”
We double checked that last statement from Riley, and turns out he’s right. Our bodies need some type of sodium.
We’re still gathering answers from other partner restaurants. Be sure to check back for more answers.
And, in case you’re wondering, for us it’s crushed red pepper. We found one that’s finely crushed — almost the same size as regular black pepper — from a small spice shop in Arizona (every time we visit we load up on packages and always wonder what the airport security thinks). We don’t even know where our black pepper is anymore.