We here at the Campbell Culinary and Baking Institute are always looking for exciting ways to enhance the flavor of our foods using different techniques, spices and herbs. Salt can often be a go-to ingredient for many home cooks as it can enhance the taste of food, but it is not the only way to add flair and flavor to your dishes!
Chefs use a myriad of ingredients and cooking techniques to add flavor to food. Something as simple as carrots, onions, and celery become a part of the flavor profile in cooking stocks. Sweat carrot, onion and celery with a little olive oil to add to your next sauce or soup—your kitchen will smell divine and you can put all of that flavor to a delicious use.
If you want to get a little more creative, try adding onion, parsnip, and leek (center) or onion, peppers and celery (right) together, also known as the “Cajun trinity.”
Cuisines from every corner of the globe use unique herb and spice blends that contribute to that region’s signature flavor profile. For best results, grind whole spices in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. The fresher the spice, the better!
Pictured above: Star Anise, Allspice, Cardamom, Clove, Cumin(left); Black Pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and fennel (right)
For a great barbecue dry rub combine equal parts: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dark chili powder, cumin, salt, fresh ground black pepper, and brown sugar. Rub on chicken, pork, or beef.
For those spices that you don’t have around your kitchen, Swanson Flavor Infused Broths can be a great way to add the flavors of your favorite ethnic cuisines. Try Mexican Tortilla, Thai Ginger and Chinese Hot & Sour Flavor Infused broths.
Fresh squeezed citrus juice adds great flavor in marinades, dressings, and drinks, but don’t forget about the flavor from the peel. Use a zester to remove the peel and use to augment citrus juice.
Fresh herbs are available year round at your local grocery store, so opt for them instead of dried herbs. Tie butcher string around a bundle of herbs and toss in your next soup, or place in a cheesecloth and bundle. Tying the herbs together helps for easy removal before serving.
Some of our favorite herb combinations are:
- Sage, rosemary & thyme are great to add to meatballs for extra Italian flare
- Basil, parsley and oregano are good choices to kick up your tomato sauce
- Fresh mint is delicious in summertime beverages
- Fresh tarragon, dill and mustard seed mixed with mayonnaise makes for a supreme sandwich
There are so many easy ways to add flavor, these are just a few to get started. Happy Cooking!