By Chef Judi Gallagher –
This holiday gift-giving season is going to see yellow. For mustard. Specialty mustards, both domestically crafted and imported, are all the rage in the culinary world. Now is a great time to investigate mustards and mustard recipes. It’s a bigger world that French’s. As a seasoning in salad dressing, as an ingredient in sauces and casseroles, as an important part of dips, mustard in much more useful in your pantry than used as a smear of French’s or the more haute Grey Poupon over the American hot dog.
At a recent national chef’s convention that I attended, mustard was as prominent as the finest olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars. Chefs love mustard because you don’t need a lot of it to make a real difference in the taste of a dish. Some of the flavored mustards that I find intriguing include: maple, honey, sweet-beet and horseradish, wasabi-lime, smokey onion, garam masala, blue cheese and raspberry honey. But there are plenty more.
Mustard is made by crushing the seeds of certain Eurasian plants in the Brassica genus and blending them with spices and liquid for
a creamy or grainy texture. Mustard varies in color from pale yellow to light olive brown.
While the French have always embraced the nuanced flavors of blended mustards and enhanced them with truffles, capers and curries, America is now embracing the newest style of mustards. Forget about bringing a bottle of wine as hostess gift to your holiday party. Bring a trio of little mustard jars and print out a few recipes that use these tangy vibrant mustards as much more than a condiment.
Mustard Cream Sauce
(Makes about 1 cup)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Boil white wine and shallots in heavy medium saucepan over high heat until liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add whipping cream and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 2 minutes. Add Dijon mustard, basil and dill. Simmer 2 minutes to blend flavors. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Lovely over grilled salmon or other seafood.
Holiday Potato Casserole
6 to 8 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in big cubes
Pam or similar spray
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium-sized Vidalia onion finely diced
1 large clove garlic finely diced
1 teaspoon flavored mustard (blue cheese or smokey onion would be nice)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. Cook peeled and cubed potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and mix in the mustard while the potatoes are warm so the flavor is fully absorbed. put potatoes into a casserole dish and set aside. In a medium saucepan, saute onion in butter until pale and softened. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add the flour to onions and garlic. Cook 1 minute, while constantly stirring. Whisk in chicken broth. When sauce begins to thicken, add milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper Bring to a low simmer. Add 1-1/2 cups cups cheddar cheese. (save 1/2 cup for topping), stirring until melted. Pour the cheese sauce over potatoes in casserole dish. Jiggle the dish so the sauce spread down evenly through the potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes until top is golden.