The Top Chef judge reveals her kitchen essentials.
Food writer, cookbook author, fan favorite Top Chef judge and chef Gail Simmons has amassed a serious trove of culinary experience over the years, and in her new book, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, she's sharing it in the form of recipes you can make at home. Earlier this week, she shared not one but two of them with the Food & Wine Test Kitchen—first, her signature cocktail, The Gail, and second, an increasingly-seasonally-appropriate Winter Galette. She also shared five of her most used items in the kitchen, so you can stock up your own:
"I just love that it's so dynamic in the kitchen," Simmons says of her mini spatula, which you can watch her use in our Facebook Live broadcast. The multi-function tool is "perfect for getting out every little drop of jam," making eggs, and more.
GIR: Get It Right Premium Silicone Mini Spatula, 8 Inches, Lime, $13 at Amazon
Offset Metal Spatula
Another "great little tool," Simmons says the offset metal spatula is "really useful for spreading things" like the ricotta in her Winter Galette, and equally great for sandwiches.
Ateco 1305 Ultra Offset Spatula with 4.25 by .75-Inch Stainless Steel Blade.=, $5 at Amazon
When it comes to ingredients home cooks should try more, anchovies are one of Simmons' favorites. "It’s a great savory ingredient that people don’t think about," she says, recommending tossing pasta with "a little bit of mashed anchovy and lemon juice in butter," or spreading it with garlic on bread.
"Agostino Recca" Fillets of Anchovies 8.1 oz, $21 on Amazon
"I use tahini in everything," Simmons says, including salad dressings, hummus, dips and "little tahini and ginger cookies," which, she adds, are great for the holidays.
Achva Organic Tahini, 17.6 oz, $8 at Amazon
Like many chefs, Simmons has a go-to red pepper, and hers is this dried chili from Syria. While difficult to get from Syria currently, other countries also grow this pepper, which Simmons says is "really fragrant" and, while relatively minor in heat, "adds a lovely pepper flavor" that makes it great in dressings, on roasted vegetables and in anything you'd normally put regular chili flakes on.
Aleppo Turkish Chili Pepper 2 Oz By Zamouri Spices, $8 at Amazon