Best gourmet ingredients

Best gourmet ingredients

We asked five creative chefs for the one ingredient that will instantly give home-cooked meals that intangible gourmet flourish

Fresh kaffir lime leaves from T&T Supermarket (Photo by Daniel Shipp) 

FRESH KAFFIR LIME LEAF
Biness Budola, the master of Indian cuisine at Amaya, grinds up the aromatic fresh leaves with onion, making a fine paste that adds herbal freshness to curry, broth or coconut milk. T&T Super­market.

BEE POLLEN
The French-inspired cooking at OddFellows comes from the kitchen of chef Matty Matheson, who loves bee pollen for its nutty, sweet flavour. He sprinkles the golden nuggets on duck liver pâté. Honey World, St. Lawrence Market, 93 Front St. E.

LOCAL LARD
Joan Olsen prepares Swirl’s decadent pork rillette with lard from nearby Mennonite farms. At home, she infuses it with fresh marjoram and garlic, then whips it and spreads it on bread as a rich alternative to butter. It also makes pastry ridiculously flaky and flavourful. Fresh From the Farm.

SAZON CON ACHIOTE
Chef Michael Frank’s infatuation with Latin American flavours led him to this rare rusty-red spice blend, which upgrades just about any cut of meat (he rubs it on wings at Leslieville’s Barrio Lounge). With annato, coriander and salt, of course, it’s rich and earthy. House of Spice.

FURIKAKE
Japan’s salt and pepper, this traditional seasoning, made from dried fish, shiso leaf and seaweed, adds tang and richness to plain rice. At District (806 Queen St. E., 647-347-8744), sushi artist Kwang Bae Chon adds a dash to his elegant maki rolls. Sanko Trading Co.