A pinch of salt, a few turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Seasoning may seem like the final small step in a recipe, but it’s also the most important. Salt is one of a cook’s best tools and the growing variety on the market—pink Himalayan or grey French sea salt, to name a few—proves that it’s being taken seriously as its own unique ingredient. Of course salt is only one way to season a dish. Do you want to learn a back-pocket spice rub that you can use on anything or the secret to seasoning to juicy meat? Check out Food & Wine’s guide to seasonings. We’ve also included recipes that make use of your spice rack and dishes that highlight fresh herbs.

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Seaweed Salt

At Harbor House Inn in Elk, California, F&W Best New Chef Matthew Kammerer makes the restaurant’s salts from the water right in front of the inn, and combines that sea salt with dried sea lettuce for a vegetal, ocean-forward flavor booster that adds briny saltiness to buttered popcorn, noodles, eggs, and cooked seafood. In this streamlined version, we substituted high-quality Maldon sea salt. Look for sea lettuce online.
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Turkey Stock

This is Anthony Bourdain’s simple, all-purpose, make-ahead turkey stock made with backs and necks. Slideshow: More Turkey Recipes
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