Secrets of a Restaurant Chef – A Perfect Pantry

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Chef Laura Frankel
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stocked pantry

Last week I shared the importance of having good quality knives.  Today we talk pantry.  A well-stocked pantry is essential.  I can pull off a healthy home cooked meal out of my pantry in usually less than 20

Minutes and you can too.  It all comes down to some staple items. Here are some basics I always have on hand:

  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil (the better the oil, the better the flavor)
  • Rice (I have many types: Arborio for risotto, brown, basmati, Chinese black rice and more)
  • Lentils
  • Variety of grains (barley, farro, freekah and more)
  • Coconut milk (adds creaminess, flavor and is pareve),
  • Canned wild salmon
  • Wild smoked salmon (I always have some in the freezer)
  • Spices
  • Tomato paste
  • Canned whole plum tomatoes (the good tomatoes are kept whole, the lesser quality tomatoes are chopped, I never buy canned chopped tomatoes)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Whole Wheat pasta
  • Kalamata olives
  • Capers
  • Canned Beans

If you have picky eaters at home or are trying to put together multiple meals at once -- like getting Thursday dinner on the table, prepping for Shabbat meals and trying to figure out school lunches all at the same time -- a well-stocked pantry will allow you to play short-order cook without the stress.