Add This Gourmet Ingredient To Bring Your Meals To The Next Level

Take your dishes up a notch by substituting just one gourmet ingredient.

Take your tried and true dishes to the next level by adding just one gourmet ingredient.

Breakfast. While omelets might be your go-to special start to the day, chances are you haven’t branched out from the ordinary in your spice rack. Thyme? Sure. Oregano? Been there. Try adding nigella seeds instead. Nigella sativa goes by many names; black onion and black sesame are just a few. An ancient Middle Eastern and South Asian spice, nigella was reportedly even found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Its scent resembles a cross between cumin and fenugreek.

Tip: Toast the seeds in a hot skillet for 30 seconds before preparing your eggs as you like.

Available at Dean & Deluca.

Also check out: Cook With Spices

Lunch. If you need to whip up a quick meal to impress, bring new life to a pasta dish with Gran Queso cheese in place of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Made in the heart of Wisconsin’s Green County dairy country, this cheese is a new world nod to old world Spanish Manchego. Made with cow’s milk instead of sheep milk but keeping the traditional basket-weave rind and maturation, Gran Queso is simultaneously firm and nutty with a rich lingering taste.  

Tip: Use a Microplane rasp grater to produce extra fine shreds.

Available at Murray’s Cheese.

Dinner. You can put any old ham in a chef salad and call it a day, but why settle for run-of-the-mill? Zingerman’s, the Midwestern mecca of specialty foods, works closely with La Quercia, the favorite cured pork supplier of chefs across the country. Try their thinly sliced Prosciutto Americano, made exclusively from pigs naturally raised by Niman Ranch in rural Iowa and noted for its unique mineral finish. If you want to forgo salad dressing, try Prosciutto Piccante, rubbed with fennel seed and red chili.

Available at Zingerman’s.