From pickled walnuts to SPAM, these pantry staples are long-lasting and versatile.
You may not have SPAM, pickled walnuts, or lemon sea salt stored in your pantry right now, but you definitely should. As more of our cooking these days relies on pantry staples, we asked chefs to share the long-lasting, non-perishable items that they always keep in their kitchens, from protein powder to za’atar.
“As a kid, we ate a ton of SPAM and Underwood Deviled Ham sandwiches. Today, I update that with seared SPAM thinly sliced on toasted bread or a ciabatta roll, cheddar, Sriracha, pickled onion, and a bit of mayo.” — Paul Wahlberg, chef/co-owner of Wahlburgers
“Something that isn’t very common in the U.S. but should be: pickled walnuts. I’m from London, so I grew up eating these with cheese, meats, and sandwiches. They can also be chopped and thrown into any braise at the last minute. They’re great for adding a pickled note to just about any dish.” —Philip Whitmarsh, executive chef of Jewel of the South
Fish sauce and tamarind paste
“They are two of my favorite items to have on hand. Not only are they packed with flavor, but they are essential for making a great stir fry. You can also use them to marinate anything, from chicken to rice.” — Nina Compton, owner of Compere Lapin and Bywater American Bistro …