Master chefs have a few secret ingredients up their sleeves that they use to create delicious dishes. From smoked salt to Tellicherry black peppercorns, these ingredients can make all the difference in the flavor of a dish. The kitchen company Magnet recently analyzed 1,254 ingredients from 123 recipes from the four most popular MasterChef formats to determine what ingredients future contestants should consider when creating their final menu. Chocolate was found to be the most used ingredient, appearing in 14 percent of the winning recipes.
Other popular ingredients included apples, raspberries, lemon, lime, lobster, venison, lamb, quail, pork, duck, peas, potatoes, onions, butter, beetroots and bananas. Celebrity winning menus included more traditional ingredients such as chocolate and mascarpone. Emeril is known for his use of Creole condiments and Giada De Laurentiis uses mascarpone as her secret ingredient. Talde's secret ingredient is Vietnamese-style fish sauce.
Smoked salt is one of the top secret ingredients used by master chefs. It is created by placing high-quality salt in a chamber and cold smoking it with a favorite wood such as apple, Hawaiian kiawe, walnut or apricot. Smoked salt offers a greater penetration of flavor in a dish than traditional smoked products. Tellicherry black peppercorns are another key ingredient used by master chefs.
These pepper berries are harvested just before they ripen and form wrinkled skin when dry. Black peppercorns have the strongest flavor and are commonly used in white sauces such as bechamel and creamy sauces. Green peppercorns are picked when they are very immature and have a light flavor. They can be ground in a pepper grinder or even shredded with the flat side of the chef's knife against a cutting board.
Green peppercorns go particularly well with fish, poultry, eggs, salads and organic steamed vegetables. Malabar black peppercorns have great taste, aroma and spiciness and come from the southwestern Malabar coast of India. They are richer than Tellicherry peppercorns and recommended for pork or veal main courses. Muntok white peppercorns have a delicate interior and light flavor with a characteristic aroma known only to Muntoks.
They are recommended with poultry and seafood main courses or lighter dishes and sauces. These secret ingredients can help aspiring chefs create delicious dishes like those served by master chefs on popular cooking shows. By using smoked salt, Tellicherry black peppercorns, green peppercorns, Malabar black peppercorns and Muntok white peppercorns in their recipes, aspiring chefs can take their cooking to the next level.