Chef Nancy Silverton’s Top 5 Pantry Staples

While Nancy Silverton’s cookbook A Twist of the Wrist contains an impressive 137 recipes, at The Independent’s prompting she came up with the top five things in jars, cans, bags, and boxes to keep in your house to be able to whip up a satisfying meal any time.

1) Best Food’s mayonnaise. “It’s fantastic, and there are so many ways to personalize it, from chipotle peppers to garlic aioli.”

2) Progresso’s lentil soup. “Which I love, or the harder-to-find Westbrae organic black beluga lentils. These lentils, when drained, make a terrific sauce to all kinds of seared fish.”

3) Canned beans. “Cannellini are especially great, but I have so many favorites since beans are so versatile. Simmer them with some extra-virgin olive oil, grated garlic, and some fresh herbs and it’s hard to tell the difference [from freshly cooked beans].” As for which canned beans to buy, in her book she advises, “Look for those that are organic and/or low sodium and contain no artificial flavorings or preservatives.”

4) Anchovies, capers, and olives. “All three certainly add a lot of flavor to a dish.” In her book, Silverton admits to preferring salt-packed anchovies and capers, but also approves of caper paste as a way to work the flavor into recipes.

5) Patak’s line of Indian jarred items. “I particularly like their tandoori rub and their green chutney-that’s really delicious when stirred into Greek yogurt.” I can also vouch, after having made the dish in our home test kitchen, for Patak’s spicy tomato and cardamom sauce that makes a fine mix with garbanzos in the book’s peppered skirt steak with spicy tomato curry garbanzo beans and tangy Greek yogurt sauce.

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