The following is a list of 5 of my favorite ingredients that add extra flavor to a variety of foods.
1) Garlic – Classic, timeless, pungent, aromatic, delicious. It works with almost anything. For every non-sweet recipe, garlic makes it better, chopped, minced, or roasted and spread on bread: https://tastylittlemorsels.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/italian-appetizer-herbed-focaccia-bites-and-roasted-garlic/
2) Capers – I love these little rolly polly bursts of salty savory goodness. It’s amazing how much pizzazz they can add to a dish. They’re great in pasta or salads, on fish or chicken (e.g., chicken piccata), or added to all kinds of vegetables, like these: https://tastylittlemorsels.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/the-best-brussels-sprouts-ever-from-sunset-magazine/
3) Bacon – not the healthiest, but a little in moderation here and there adds the right amount of decadence. It’s great crispy and crumbled on salad or sprinkled on baked potatoes. Or, it can be wrapped around scallops, shrimp, or filet mignon. In this recipe, bacon adds just the blending of tastes: https://tastylittlemorsels.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/turkey-bacon-avocado-rollup-appetizers/
4) Pine Nuts – These are great plain or pan roasted, and tossed on salads, in vegetable or pasta dishes, or added to meatballs (they are also used to make pesto). Try: https://tastylittlemorsels.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/quick-and-easy-appetizers/
5) Feta Cheese – It’s great on salads (such as in a Greek-style salad with olives, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.) or stuffed into phyllo dough triangles. Here’s a simple dish using feta: https://tastylittlemorsels.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/steak-feta-lettuce-wraps/
Honorable Mentions: other nuts and seeds; peppers; avocados; olives; red chile flakes; chipotle; paprika; honey; Dijon mustard; ginger; lemons/limes; wine; sesame oil