What do you my fellow Serious Eaters think are the most underrated and overrated ingredients?
The most underrated ingredients I would say are water and flat leaf parsley. I find water is such a key ingredient, great for thinning sauces or poaching etc. Don't get my wrong I love stock and wine, but sometimes water does the trick, especially starchy pasta water when thinning pasta sauces. Flat leaf parsley I find also adds a great freshness to long cooked dishes.
The most overrated ingredients I would have to say are chocolate and bacon (please don't hate me). Don't get me wrong I love chocolate and bacon! I just think they've become a crutch for a lot of cooks. A lot of mediocre dishes seem to use chocolate and bacon to hide less than stellar ingredients or technique.