Mustard is, of course, great year round.
But when our meadows and hillsides are covered in a brilliant yellow blanket of mustard flowers, it is possible not to think of mustard, one of the world’s most popular condiments. From a simple mixture of ground mustard seed and water to suave Dijon mustards, mustard adds flavor, heat and nutrients without adding many calories. When it comes to bang for your buck, you can’t do much better than mustard.
When I wrote “The Good Cook’s Book of Mustard” in 1993, the mustard frenzy that soon would spawn the Napa Valley Mustard Festival and scores of hand-crafted condiments was just a dream in a few zealots’ minds. Now mustard is celebrated near and far and dozens of delicious options line market shelves.
Do you have a favorite mustard? If so, please name it here and if it is hard to find, add a place or two where readers can get it. I’ll start things off. My all-time favorite mustard is PIC, a brand of Dijon imported by Kermit Lynch and available locally at Traverso’s. I also love Edmond Fallot Dijon mustards, especially their Green Peppercorn Mustard and their Burgundy Mustard, which I usually buy at Traverso’s, as well. And, yes, I consider Dijon mustards to be the best in the world. Why, you ask? In part it has to do with the texture, which is the lusciously smooth, hence their description as suave. I also like the balance of flavors; a well-made Dijon has the right amount of salt and the right amount of acid, qualities that enhance the flavor of mustard itself. Even Grey Poupon, an international brand available almost everywhere, is very good.
One very popular mustard, made with honey, is so easy to make at home that you needn’t buy it. All you do is combine ¾ cup good Dijon mustard with ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup minced candied ginger and 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger. Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic and several turns of black pepper. Stir until smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.
Here are some of my favorite recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives, all perfect in the spring.
Deviled Chicken (For the version with mustard, scroll down to Variations)