dried red chili peppers.
The dried red chili pepper is surely the greatest ingredient that exists - I refuse to hear an argument otherwise. The dried red chili pepper isn't a single entity - there are so many to choose from, and each holds a distinct flavor profile (fruity! smoky! bright!), and a distinct level of heat. Don't settle for the standard dried red chili pepper that you get in a packet with your pizza - take a leap, and branch out to try aleppo, marash, espelette, urfa, pasilla, guajillo...the list goes on...and on...and on. Aleppo is a great one to start with - it is bright, a little sweet, with mild-moderated heat, and the texture of the flakes is chewy and delicious. Aleppo transforms your eggs, is amazing sprinkled over hummus - the uses are endless. Espelette chili peppers, pictured below, are an absolute delight and increasingly available. They are just amazing. Super fruity and sweet, with mild heat, they bring a beautiful, mellow, fruity undertone to a dish, and they pair with just about anything. I love espelette in sauces and salad dressings, and highly recommend it as an entry point to the incredible world of dried red chili peppers.