Friday, January 25, 2013

Flavor Profile - Mustard

I love mustard!

Everybody seems to have a favorite condiment they can’t live without. For some it’s ketchup, others mayo, yet others relish.  For me, it’s mustard.

What makes mustard more interesting, IMHO (in my humble opinion), than say, mayo or ketchup, is that there are so many versions of it. I mean, let’s face it: mayo is mayo, and ketchup is ketchup, but MUSTARD, my God, there are so many kinds! French’s basic yellow, Dijon, whole grain, Bavarian, and spicy brown, just to name a few. I once had an apple ginger mustard. It was fantastic.

Mustard seeds
Mustard isn’t just a condiment. It’s a great way to add flavor to food. Pork chops, pork tenderloin, salmon, chicken, beef, hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, cabbage slaw, potato salad, and as a hard-boiled egg filling.

Last Sunday, we had a picnic lunch at a local park. I made sautéed chicken breasts with whole grain mustard. Simple, yet packed with flavor. Had I served it hot at home, I would have likely added a little white wine and cream to the pan to make a delicious mustard cream sauce. But it was great cold the way it was.

Whole grain mustard
Naturally you can buy regular or gourmet mustards ready-made. But you can also buy a basic mustard and experiment with adding additional ingredients at home. Here are some ideas.

For a hot mustard, stir 3-4 finely chopped chipotle or jalapeno peppers into ¼ cup Dijon, yellow or honey mustard. Use roasted red peppers for a milder version. Serve on a burger with avocado.

Add finely chopped fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, parsley, cilantro, or basil, or a combination of any or all of them) to Dijon mustard. Especially good on chicken, fish, or pork.

Mix equal parts finely chopped walnuts, pecans or peanuts into Dijon. Could be good on chicken.

Mash cranberry sauce or cherry chutney into Dijon (puree in a food processor for a smoother texture). Try on a turkey or roast beef sandwich.

Other additions to mustard could be roasted garlic, horseradish, honey or rosemary.
And don't forget to add a tsp. of Dijon to your homemade salad dressings. Mustard is a great emulsifier, binding your dressing together so it doesn't separate so readily. Added to a good quality vinegar and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), it helps to make your vinaigrette fantastic.

Here’s a recipe I want to try. I’m actually going to make deviled eggs with it, so I’ll add a little mayo. As listed, I would smear it on chicken before grilling it.

Lemon curry mustard

Into 8 oz. of spicy brown mustard, add ½  tsp. lemon pepper, 1 tsp. curry powder and ¼ tsp. grated lemon peel.

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