Mustard

October 8th, 2009

I love mustard—zesty Dijon; zingy yellow; bitey, coarse, country-style. It is a universal spice—from the seeds cooked in Indian fruit chutneys, to the sinus-clearing fiery paste served with Chinese barbecued pork, to the pungent sweet mustard fruits (that I love so much!) found in Italy. Dijon and rosemary has been a classic smear used on lamb racks for centuries. The climax of the baseball season approaches—and that just calls out for hot dogs slathered with mustard. I know Dijon is tasty, but tangy yellow is just too darn good to ignore in my opinion.

Mustard is a great flavor enhancer. Dijon—once viewed by Americans as the exclusive province of chefs, food snobs and gourmets—has become a staple in the American kitchen. Dijon is a must ingredient in many of my recipes—from classic vinaigrettes to deviled eggs. I often use it to build an extra “layer” of flavor as it can round out the flavors of a dish.

Whole-grain mustard is another great flavor builder, which contributes texture as well: rub it on steaks and roasts or stir it into a garlic cream sauce— it’s good on just about anything! It’s the mustard I’ve included in my Country Mustard Herb Splash, which is terrific tossed with fresh-steamed green beans or just-roasted potatoes, splashed on grilled steaks or chicken, or used as a dredge for grilled or broiled mushrooms. If you love sharp flavors as much as I do, you’ll also like it tossed with a green salad.

Last, but not least, we can’t forget the American yellow mustard—the classic ingredient in a home-style eggy potato salad, spread on bologna sandwiches, or zigzagged across a hot dog of course! Now, if you’ve never tried a Southern-style, yellow barbecue sauce (alias “Mop”), you should! I’ve cooked up a recipe for South Carolina Mustard-Spiked BBQ Sauce—great for making slow-cooked pulled pork or for brushing on grilling ribs or chicken.

And if you’re ever interested in making your own mustard, it’s pretty easy. There are tons of variations, and lots of fun books and recipes you can research on the web. My No. 1 tip would be to remember that the longer your fresh mustard sits the mellower it gets. When it’s first made, it’s gonna be hot!  ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

Country Mustard Herb Splash
This big-flavored sauce is great to keep on hand to splash over vegetables such as sautéed zucchini or green beans and to drizzle over grilled chicken, fish or meats. 

Makes 1 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or substitute red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or basil
1 teaspoon very finely minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, and salt, then gradually whisk in oil, emulsifying mixture. Stir in herbs and seasonings. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

South Carolina Mustard-Spiked BBQ Sauce
Makes 1 3/4 cups

1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup beer
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Whisk all ingredients together. Store refrigerated.
To use: Paint sauce on ribs or chicken frequently (about every 10 minutes) during cooking or pre-marinate pork roasts overnight before roasting. ©2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®

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