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A field of mustard plants in Napa Valley. The
seeds are harvested from the beautiful
yellow flowers. Photo courtesy Napa Mustard
When some people think “spring,” they think daffodils and tulips. The food-focused think “mustard.”
A few days before the official start of spring, we look forward to St. Patrick’s Day’s corned beef and cabbage with lots of prepared mustard on the side. Then comes Easter, where we slather on mustard to glaze the ham, and spread different types of mustard on the ham sandwiches that follow (take a look at these cherry-mustard ham glaze and these ham glaze recipes).
Then come the spring vegetables, accented with mustard: in a sauce for fresh asparagus, mixed into vinaigrette with new, tender greens, as part of a dip for fresh artichoke leaves.
The next thing you know, it’s baseball season: hot dogs and soft pretzels drizzled with mustard. Then come the picnics: mustard on sandwiches, in deviled egg recipes and mixed into cole slaw and potato salad for an extra hint of flavor.
Many kitchens have a jar of Dijon mustard and a jar of yellow “ballpark” mustard. But there are quite a few different prepared mustards, including some you’ve never heard of. See the different types of mustard in our Mustard Glossary, and try something new. You’ll discover delightful flavors with almost no calories.
You can also check out the history of mustard.
Grains of mustard have been found in the tombs of the pharaohs, and mustard was a popular condiment with the ancient Greeks and Romans. By the 1400s, mustard had spread through Europe, with each region making its own style. Mustard arrived in America in the 1700s as immigrants set up their own businesses.
Here’s a plateful of ideas from Roland brand mustard on ways to use mustard add a punch of flavor to other dishes:
MUSTARD AS A CONDIMENT
Serve two mustards. Serving a dish of Dijon and grain mustard side by side highlights the differences in taste and allows everyone to experiment with various combinations of flavor.
Try flavored mustards—mustard blended with with tarragon or other herbs, blue cheese, beets and other ingredients—on sandwiches and hamburgers, for a truly special taste twist. Do it even if you like the same old, same old: We adore flavored mustards.
Serve mustard as a cheese condiment: Dijon, grainy (old-style or à la ancienne) and flavored mustards are our favorites here. (More about cheese condiments.)
Make your own honey mustard. Just blend honey into Dijon mustard, to taste. You can also use maple syrup, or go for low-glycemic agave nectar or calorie-free sweeteners.
Experiment by pairing different mustards with your favorite foods. For example, grainy mustard is a great pairing with Cajun style sandwiches: fish, pan-fried oysters or pork. We love herb-flavored mustards with cold cuts. With pâtés, try green peppercorn-flavored Dijon mustard.
Fried green tomatoes and crab with Creole mustard. Here’s the recipe from McCormick.com.
COOKING WITH MUSTARD
Add flavor to sauces. Mustard is an essential ingredient in everything from hollandaise to reduction sauces to vinaigrettes.
Add dry or prepared mustard to vinaigrette or other salad dressing. In addition to the dash of spiciness, mustard helps to hold the emulsion in the dressing.
Add mustard at the end of the cooking process. In a sauce or a other cooked recipe, too much heat will make the mustard flavor weak and bitter.
Add mustard to dips. Perk up artichokes, asparagus and crudités, as well as steamed and grilled veggies.
Put mustard in your rub and your marinade. Mustard mixed with herbs, salt and black pepper makes a great rub for roast meats, and is always a welcome flavor element in marinades.
Make compound butter with mustard. ustard works very well in compound butters. Soften butter at room temperature. Then add chopped garlic, parsley, black pepper, minced shallots and the mustard of choice. Mix well, spoon onto parchment paper, form into a roll and freeze. Cut 1/2 inch sections off and place over grilled meat or fish. (More about compound butter.)
Try this recipe from Roland Foods: Fresh mint makes it the perfect spring vinaigrette.
RECIPE: MINT MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
1.5 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
1.5 tablespoons grainy mustard
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. COMBINE mustards, vinegar and mint leaves in a small mixing bowl; briskly whisk to blend. While whisking mixture, slowly drizzle in olive oil.
2. USE immediately, or be prepared to re-whisk if the vinaigrette separates.
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