Our chefs agree that you need two cooking oils on hand at all times: a high-heat oil like canola for sautéing and frying and an olive oil as a dressing or seasoning. (Using olive oil with high heat can ruin a meal.)
Both chefs use kosher salt to season dishes—mix in a salad, in cooking water, in sauces—and a pinch of flaky sea salt to finish a dish, on steak or over an egg, adding flavor and crunch.
Freshly Ground Pepper
Filling an adjustable (not prepacked) grinder with peppercorns will let you put finer grains in recipes and coarser ones on prepped dishes/salads.
Salted butter will boost flavor, whereas unsalted gives you total control of how you salt your dish.
A simple squeeze of lemon juice makes a great summer dressing or a seasoning.
Two vinegars—balsamic and red wine—will cover most of your needs. Red-wine vinegar is the more all-purpose variety, used in typical salad vinaigrettes or even for pickling. Balsamic is sweeter and works best on more delicate vegetables that you don’t want to overpower with too much acidity.
Just Mayo is a great egg-free spread made by Hampton Creek, with healthy whole ingredients and a fraction of the saturated fat of regular mayo.
Hatfield loves a whole-grain sandwich mustard like Gulden’s; Humm prefers the kick of Dijon. You can even use mustard to make mayo by mixing it with egg, lemon juice or vinegar, and canola oil.
Rye bread has a depth of flavor most breads lack. More important, it’s hearty and has a long shelf life.