Drop for drop, toasted sesame oil may provide more flavor than anything in our cupboards. Just a little bit added at the last moment to a stir-fry transforms a clean-out-the-crisper-drawer mishmash into something that tastes authentically Asian.
Sick of your everyday vinaigrette? Try adding a little sesame oil to the olive oil, and you'll jolt your tastebuds out of their complacency. Or sprinkle a few drops on sliced, salted cucumbers to give a kick to a summertime staple.
It also makes a great marinade, mixed with rice vinegar or sherry, garlic, ginger, and a little sugar.
Most supermarkets stock sesame oil in their Asian sections, but you can also find it at Asian groceries. Make sure you buy the brown, toasted variety, not the blander, lighter type found in health-food stores.
Sesame oil keeps a very long time in your pantry, but don't worry—once you get into the habit of using it, you'll never have to worry about it spoiling.