Friday, August 19, 2011

Chef John's "Fresh Five" Secret Ingredients

When my friends at Hungry Nation asked if they could come by and film a segment they were doing called the "Fresh Five," I said, "Hells yeah!" Which is kind of weird, since I never use that expression.

Anyway, "Fresh Five" features foodies from Hungry Nation doing a top five list of favorites; things like recipes, kitchen equipment, or in my case, secret ingredients. And, yes, before you do the joke, I'll do it for you…No, I'm not clear on the concept of a secret ingredient. Anyway, the smoked paprika-rubbed cat is out of the bag now, so sit back and enjoy!


Head over to the Hungry Nation YouTube channel to check out the other Fresh Fives, and more fab foodie fun!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I call bullshit. Where's the cayenne???? j/k chef <3 :P

Food Junkie said...

Smoked paprika and alder smoked salt (a heavily smoked salt) would be two of mine. Both can kick up the flavour of a dish big time. I use a lot of Sambal Oelek and relatively little cayenne. Your list looks great other than the tarragon mustard. I am not a big fan of tarragon.

Anonymous said...

My secret ingredient is Sambal. I use it in my fried rice recipe that i got from my dad. You won't taste that it's to hot because i only use probably a teaspoon or two. You won't taste it's spicy, its just going to give you some nice color and a subtle flavor like your pepper jelly. Though my main flavoring in my fried rice is beef stock.

Anonymous said...

butter, butter, butter, butter, butter

Johnny B said...

Great minds think alike.. already use 3.

You sir.. are a daily fix for me. Keep cranking stuff like this out.

DiggingDogFarm said...

Love anchovies....a few other of my secret ingredients are...fish sauce...fresh lemon juice and zest....cultured butter..champagne vinegar.

Eliz said...

God you are so sexy Chef John. And So CUTE!! That little smile at the end!! *GAAHH* <3 <3 <3

Johnny B said...

I should add my personal favorite secret ingredient....

Stale bread. I can think of nearly ten times as many uses for stale bread as fresh.

Anonymous said...

pomegranate molasses, sriracha (which I think is not sambal oolek), kosher salt. Nut butters - cashew is high on my list right now - and walnut oil for salad. Also agree on the animal fat, though for me I save duck/ bacon/ lamb fat. I own smoked paprika but fail to use it properly. I love the idea of it in an omelet, but it doesn't spread well. I've had a mouthful too many of smokiness, not good. Maybe if I mixed a small bit into the salt before trying to sprinkle it?

philogaia said...

Wow. Four out of five are on my short list as well. I use mustard a lot, dijon, yellow, or powdered depending on the dish but haven't tried the herb mustard. Probably because I have lots of herbs growing on my front porch which makes a quick trip with the scissors easy. But folks are mentioned sambal. Yup, that one is on my short list as well. I'd also say capers as they get mashed into lots of things for a little saltiness when I don't dig out the jar of salted anchovies.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I can't believe you told them about anchovies. That was supposed to be our little secret.

Traitor.

MitzewichFan said...

First comment here but a long time fan. Couldn't resist to finally post! Btw, I wanted to use hyperlinks, but it didn't allow me.

The Real Top 5 Chef John Secret Ingredients:
5: Thai Basil
Thai Basil comes in 5th because guess what? Regular sweet basil just doesn't cut it. Everytime we hear John mention Basil; whether it be for topping a lovely piece of grilled swordfish/grilled flank steak or just an excuse for him to say the word “Chiffonade”, there will be an honorary mention of Thail basil; leading us to believe it is the more intense (or may I say “superior”) species of this herb. Grow a herb garden already!
4: Sambal
Just before I explain why Sambal is here, I think I should first clarify what it is for those who may not know. Sambal is a chili sauce popular in south-east Asia. I think by now, we know Chef John loves spicy food, and quoted by the man himself, this is a must have. Any time we are doing an Asian type dish, expect to hear Sambal (or maybe Sriracha – another type of hot sauce). Why? Because any other dish he demo’s (the non-Asian ones), we know he will spice it with “You-Know-Who” instead.
3: Fish Sauce
This is the third Asian type seasoning in the list, and fish sauce makes it to third place because Chef John has an Asian fetish! On a more “serious” note (seriously?), fish sauce is a nice alternative to use for the savory part of the flavor profile for your dishes. This is obviously more applicable to your Vietnamese “Faux” Pho but also to your Shrimp Bisques. By the way, I’m Chinese myself but fish sauce is not as common in the east (or in China at least) as Chef John makes it sound like, but definitely, another must have in your kitchen – if you can find those supermarkets with the large parking lots with nice cars!
2: Italian Parsley
Parsley, parsley, Italian parsley! One of Chef John’s all-time favorite herb. Parsley is a wonderful herb to garnish those heavy, meat-centric type dishes. Whether it be lamb, beef, chicken, pork (not sure on this one, don’t recall a parsley + pork recipe) or Ricotta-spiked meatballs, parsley is a herb that complements very well with these meats because of its slightly bitter taste to clean the palate (that could be just me, correct me if I’m wrong). Similar to basil, there seems to be a superior region for growing this herb: Italy.
1: Cayenne
How can you possibly be reading this comment and not see this coming? Or are you one of those stalkers that check out the comments and skip the recipe? Sarcasm aside, possibly (although I should really have said “definitely” here) Chef John’s favorite, #1 dry spice. I mean 90% of his recipes call for cayenne. From stews and soups, to marinades, to desserts (think chocolate), to anything - cayenne is just at the top of everything. Nothing but a little heat to spice up your dishes, and a proof to your love for Chef John!

Close but no Cigar:
Mirepoix: Though the “Holy Trinity” is taking the charge these days, this classic mix of celery carrot and onion deserves a shoutout nonetheless.
Tarragon Mustard: Thinking of adding normal Dijon mustard to your salmon fishcakes? Think again. This tarragon spiked type will give it that extra sweetness that goes well with any seafood.
Kosher Salt: I don’t even know how this can be called a “secret” ingredient but every time I hear the word “generous”, I think salt and pepper, and maybe: “copious”.
Jalapeno: This sweet and mildly spicy pepper is almost a “go to” when you’re thinking of spicing up dishes (scallops especially, as Chef John revises and improves this recipe here) – unless you have cayenne that is.
Parmigiano-Reggiano: I completely forgot about this one, but was too lazy to edit it into the top 5 so parmesan cheese sits here. A must add for pasta and bakes, as long as it’s the real stuff.

Benway said...

Pepper jelly recipe please Chef! Love the videos as always.

Anonymous said...

Pepper Jelly? never heard, recipe please!

Anonymous said...

Chef John. I got out of bed to send you this comment. Please fire the producer of this video. You are not a cartoon icon and this over production is insulting. We are mostly very good cooks who have learned a lot from you.. Please come back you true nature. Gosh I want to slap someone..!

Chef John said...

relax

Jay M. said...

Hey Chef! Congrats on all the recent success! I for one am grateful that you still crank out your videos day after day. They keep getting better, and it's helping us in the kitchen a ton.

It's definitely strange to not hear your tagline at the end though! Like this video is unfinished...

"...and as always, Enjoy!"

Ah, yes. That's better.

grumbleghoul said...

smoked paprika rubbed cat???? as long as it is "out of the bag", I guess that's ok.

Stefan Kim said...

hey chef john! Just read through a TIME magazine from last week, and just saw that Food Wishes was in it! just wanted to say how awesome that was and how awesome you are! Still waiting for the day that you're on primetime though...

Food Junkie said...

I can't believe I left toasted sesame oil off my list. The pure stuff not the lame sesame oil blend. Nothing suttle about the flavour but it goes well with lots of stuff.

connieemeraldeyes said...

Badia complete seasoning is so good in everything. The only place I have ever found it is in Florida so I bought several bottles of it. Texas roadhouse sirloin seasoning is delicious, it is great on steaks and burgers. You can buy it online or at Texas roadhouse. Accent flavor enhancer, a little bit wakes up the flavor. Cholula seasoning, chili roast garlic powder is so good. I don't know if you can get it everywhere but probably the internet. Onion powder is something I use a lot of too.

Chris K. said...

At least you didn't employ the phrase 'hella.' As in, "Oh wow, those pancakes were hella good."

I hate that.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Pepper jelly recipe, please!

Lucrezia said...

Chef John you are cool! Love your page, you're the greatest. Made your french baguettes today, they were to die for!

Russell Page said...

Cannot tell you. If I did my "secret ingredient" would no longer be a secret.