mustard. i've never really given much thought to the stuff aside from a rather knee-jerk preference for the dijon style. that bright yellow ballpark stuff just gives me the creeps. unless it's an ultra processed snack food item filled with sugar and hydrogenated fat, no "food" should bear such an ungodly shade of, um, yellow. or is it vermilion?
during a recent conversation with my man's mom the subject of homemade mustard was brought up. which led me to recall a bbq i recently attended where the guest of honor was mr. sausage. delicious, smoky, succulent, tasty, char-grilled, off-limits mr. porky pig, accompanied by a variety of specialty mustards. there was the chunky country-style brownish mustard, the ubiquitous bright yellow bland and scary stuff, a heady dark beer mustard, a honey mustard, hmm, maybe even a chipotle mustard. needless to say i had my fill of mustard sandwiches that afternoon. and you know what, i liked them. they were all pretty good, each with their own unique blend of sweet, hot and pungent flavours.
sparked onto yet another obsessive quest, i poured through my arsenal of cookbooks finding very little information on homemade mustard. then i turned to that oracle of misinformation, the internet, and hit paydirt. i tried several different recipes and this one, borrowed, i mean poached, okay, let's just call it stolen, from emeril (BAM! - don't you just hate that?), struck the right balance of heat, pungency and acidity. i was astounded as i'm not generally a fan of mr. BAM! but this recipe came out really quite delicious. it's my new favorite condiment, as a matter of fact.
some of the other recipes i tried, especially the ones that used all brown mustard seeds were far, far too pungent for my taste. it is claimed that you can reduce the bite of a mustard by nuking it for 20 seconds at a time until it reached the right flavor. my all brown seed mustard could've been nuked until world war III and i don't think it would've lost it's overpowering bite and bitterness. i was concerned that using any amount yellow seeds might make the end result too wimpy, but i was wrong.
so i guess mustard isn't just mustard after all. next time i will try using different liquids (dark beer? camel piss?) and /or adding herbs like tarragon. and, as always, if anyone out there has a good recipe or some ideas, i'm all ears...
3 Tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 1/2 Tablespoons brown mustard seeds
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup white wine vinegar*
1 minced shallot (2 Tablespoons)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
pinch of ground allspice
place all ingredients in a covered bowl or a lidded jar and let sit out overnight. the next day dump everything into a blender, coffee grinder or mini food processor and blend until it reaches the desired consistency. adjust seasonings to taste. if the mustard is too pungent, place in a microwave oven at 50% power for twenty seconds. allow to cool and taste. repeat if necessary.
* i added a little extra vinegar to taste