Cutting the Mustard!

By Tenina on Aug 17, 2018

I am a mustard lover from way back. Even as a child I preferred a dollop of mustard on my burnt sausages to the more obvious tomato sauce that my siblings went for.

Apparently mustard has been around since ancient Roman times and there is even a mustard recipe appearing in a compiled Roman cookbook from the late 4th century which calls for a mix of mustard seeds, pepper, caraway, lovage, coriander seeds, dill, celery, thyme, oregano, onion, honey, vinegar, fish sauce and oil, all ground up and designed to hit the feasting table as a glaze on a spit roasted boar. Sounds delish. (see my version for Ancient Roman Mustard here!)

Dijon would have to be the grand chief of all the mustards in the kingdom. It has a clean sharp taste and is beautiful on beef, or as the base for salad dressings and mayo. Dijon in France became the recognized mustard making centre as early as the 13th century. It is still regarded as the mustard capital of the world. As such, you really cannot ‘make’ your own Dijon mustard…sorry. (I guess a trip to Dijon is now on a certain food bloggers must do list!) Though to be frank, most Dijon mustard you purchase is manufactured elsewhere. There is a lot of French Mustard about, the recipe probably doesn’t differ hugely, so go with it. Still delicious. Still mustard! And apparently still French, though rarely made in France.

English mustard is the nostril flaring, head rushing, sweat inducing mustard that if you are not careful can leave you without the roof of your mouth and no sensation in your tongue for days. Used sparingly it is amazing, particularly to offset fatty dishes like Welsh rarebit (fancy cheese on toast) or pork pies. Usually sold as powdered mustard, you can also get it in jars. Never mistake it for American mustard, it has the same hue in commercial products. You have been warned.

Wholegrain mustard is a personal fave as it adds texture and flavour to anything you add it to. I love it with fresh (sourdough) bread, shaved ham, loads of butter and some crunchy lettuce. The perfect, simple, sandwich to be honest.

It is also brilliant when used to coat a beef roast before it hits the oven. I would add a few things to it as well, rather than just rubbing mustard on your meat. Think garlic, onion, a dash of oil, parsley, sage, blended with your favourite appliance for 10 sec/speed 6 and then rub it all over the beef. Leave it for an hour or so then roast as you would normally. Too easy. Flavour bomb.

American Yellow Mustard is the stuff that is squiggled on pretzels in New York City and on hot dogs in the stands of baseball and football stadiums across the United States and is sweet, not hot at all, and pretty one-dimensional. It will never be mustard to the French, but I still love it. It is universal in flavour and the kids will definitely eat it.

German mustard is the best for the wurst! The main purpose of German mustard is to accompany German sausages and there is a wide range out there from horseradish hot to very mild. German or Bavarian mustard recipes often have beer involved…so that can’t be the wurst after all?

There are so many mustards out there nowadays, and if you are making mustards yourself make sure you start adding all the flavours you love to eat, wine, cider, whiskey, brandy, vinegars, honey, apple sauce or maple syrup, heat, spice, chili, capers, citrus, and as with the original Roman recipe, fish of some sort whether is it as sauce or anchovies, Its all about the umami of the end result.

What else can you do with your mustards?

How about adding a tablespoon to a short crust pastry for a savoury tart or quiche? (see recipe)

If you are making pickles, a good dash of mustard never goes astray.

Marinate any protein with it, maybe adding garlic, EVOO and some sort of acid as well.

Make your own Dijonnaise. (That’s just mayonnaise with some Dijon mustard in tow!) And don’t forget to use it to stabilize your Hollandaise.

Glaze veggies with a warmed mixture of mustard, honey and butter.

Use a little bit in your cheese sauce on any occasion.

It is awesome stirred through Mac N Cheese or as a pick me up for a blah stew or pie filling.

Let your taste buds do the talking. Mustard is so much more than a yellow condiment at a fast food outlet! Get mustardy. Make mustard your mustardhave in the fridge.

This article first appeared in the TMix Plus magazine. If you are not subscribed, you should be! It is the BEST foodie mag on the market. Go get it organised HERE.

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