I’m having a bit of a “thing” with mustard lately … ever since I wrote that last post about hotdogs, I’ve had mustard on my mind, and in my mouth.
It’s one of those transformative ingredients (similar to say fish sauce or red wine) and even the tiniest amount can alter the taste of an entire dish. I’m particularly fond of adding it to foods that release a natural sweetness when cooked (eg. onions, carrots, cabbage, fennel etc) as it balances the sugar. I also use it routinely in homemade vinaigrette, with a touch of honey, as an excellent emulsifier.
Use it sparingly though, as a little goes a very long way, and it’s much harder to “undo” (based on personal experience!) than to add a little more. I generally fall back on my trusted grainy Dijon and though any brown mustard is great for cooking. I would avoid French’s mustard as it will give the dish too yellow a hue (due to the added turmeric) and is generally too mild for cooking. Honey mustard will deliver too much sweet, unless you’re going for that.
A few interesting tidbits about mustard:
- The name comes from the fact that mustard was originally made with young wine (“must” in Latin)
- Most Dijon mustard is not made in Dijon (France) and there is no regulation around the use of the name
- Mustard seeds are high in the nutrient selenium which has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory
The dish that I made below is a really simple, wintery dish. You need to get super creative when shopping at farmers markets in the North East in January, but I am a sucker for a big head of vibrant purple cabbage, and luckily those orbs are plentiful all winter long. Fennel is more hit or miss in terms of availability, but that’s where Whole Foods comes in… The fresh twiggy thyme, which I used, is optional.
Get the recipe for Sauteed Cabbage and Fennel with Mustard and Thyme
Any interesting ways you use mustard? Or brands you’ve discovered that you love? Or perhaps you detest it … do tell.
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