Mustard has a long and fascinating history weaving back through many different cultures. It was being cultivated even earlier than 4000BC. The peppery flavored leaves of the plant can be eaten and are indeed one of the mainstays of southern American soul food cooking and its seeds can be pressed to make oil as well as used whole.
This is the first authoritative book on the subject and covers all aspects of its history, cultivation and its many and varied uses, both culinary and medicinal. There is something here for everyone from the professional chef, who may want to learn how to make mustard from scratch, to the home cook. The bulk of the book is dedicated to over 150 recipes using mustard as an ingredient and includes recipes for sauces, soups, starters, fish, poultry, game, meat, vegetables, pickles, baking, savories and puddings. There is also a section on making mustard at home.
Among the tempting treats to try are Mostarda di Cremona, now a fashionable relish on many tables, glazes for baked hams, chicken wings with mustard and lime, mackerel in black treacle and mustard, lapin moutarde (one of the classics of the French kitchen), glazed salt beef with mustard sauce, mustard seed sausages, mustard greens in coconut milk, piccalilli (probably one of the most famous pickles), spiced gingerbread and mustard seed and allspice biscuits.
Robin Weir is the co-author, with his wife Caroline Of Ices - the Definitive Guide one of Grub Street’s best-selling titles. He has had a lifelong interest in food and is an enthusiastic amateur cook. Rosamond Man has written extensively on food and is the author of a number of highly successful cookbooks including The Complete Meze Table.
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About the Author
Rosamond Man has written extensively on food and is the author of a number of highly successful cookbooks.
Robin Weir is the co-author of Ices the definitive guide one of Grub Street's best-selling titles.
Read an Excerpt
Woe was his cook but if his sauce were poynaunt and sharpe ...
THE FRANKLYN, FROM THE PROLOGUE TO CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES
The Franklyn, as a Knight of the Shire, was an important man, ever prepared for a multitude of visitors, and his cook had to get things right. In Chaucer's day, the palate demanded highly spiced and, to our taste, somewhat sharp sauces. Vinegar was often used alone, particularly with salted fish; sweetly spiced with cinnamon and ginger it would accompany roasted eels and lamprey, while with mustard and sugar it was especially served with brawn. That particular trio crops up in early manuscripts again and again (and again – in 1914 the Daily Mail recommended 'the simplest sauce for boiled bacon – a teaspoon of mustard and vinegar and pepper and sugar').
Most sauces went to the other extreme, being a complicated amalgam of many herbs and spices, and there were definite rules as to what sauce went with what. Brawn, beef and salt mutton had mustard; lamb, suckling pig, kid or fawn had ginger sauce; veal and bacon had verjuice (crab apple). Besides these, there were other, more specialized sauces such as chaudron for swan, camelyne for wild fowl, gauncel for goose, peverade for venison, gelatine for water fowl and egurdouce for fish.
Many of these sauces were uncooked (unless they contained the innards, blood or fat of the animal they were to accompany) and they were usually very thick – almost a paste – and served on little saucers beside the main dish. The Roman influence is easily discernible: Apicius's recipes were mostly complex, with a multitude of herbs and spices as well as dates, figs, nuts, honey, oil, must, broth, wine – and mustard.
One must remember that in medieval days much meat was past its prime, or heavily salted. And, as there were no forks, dishes were either reduced to a pulp (no doubt losing much of their flavour) or had to be served in a form easily edible in one's fingers (and were therefore often rather tasteless and dry). Either way, a sharp sauce to enliven the dish must have been a welcome relief. The Harleian manuscript of 1450 has a sauce for roasted crane which minces the liver of the bird before mixing it with 'pouder' of ginger, vinegar and mustard. This principle remained a favourite for several decades, and in Stere Hit Well, the Pepysian Library manuscript 1047, there is a 'Sauce for a Pyke' almost identical in its making.
Meanwhile, in Paris, the sauciers had their own guilds, officially authorizing them to sell their sauces (as did the vinegar makers) on the streets. The narrow thoroughfares were thronged with men shouting out their wares, 'Sauce à la moutarde', 'Sauce à l'aillée', 'Sauce verte'. It must have been very convenient for the cook – you could just pop outside when the vendors were in your street and buy not only mustard, vinegar or oil, but bread, flour, milk, butter, cheeses or pâtés. Often the children were sent on these errands: Goodman of Paris wrote that the 'little children sang at night while going for wine or mustard'. By 1650, there were some 600 'walking mustardiers'. London too had her street peddlers, some selling sauces though more favoured actual provisions: garlic, interestingly, was widely sold.
The English sauces at this time were remarkably similar to the French. Both kitchens now saw a gradual change from the highly spiced, thick medieval sauce to smoother, subtler recipes, so that by the mid- seventeenth century many were merely unthickened gravies, judiciously flavoured with a few herbs and spices – though the permutations on this were enormous.
Vinegar however was still popular in England as a sauce: alone (particularly on salads), with mustard and also with horseradish. John Gerard's Herball of 1597 states: 'the horseradish, stamped with a little vinegar put thereto, is commonly used for sauce to eate fish with and such like meates as we do mustarde.' Horseradish and mustard were also associated together. Tewkesbury mustard was spiced with the root and Evelyn recommends steeping it in vinegar for a 'sallet' dressing (p. 67-8) – though by now oil had made a comeback to the salad. For, despite the English predilection for vinegar alone, there is a recipe for 'salat' in the Forme of Curye which firmly states, after instructions to wash and pick over the herbs, 'pluk hem small with thyn hond and myng hem well with rawe oile. Lay on vynegar and salt and serve it forth.'
Mustard was also used in horseradish sauces, though to lightly colour rather than flavour them. Quite what effect it had in this recipe from Dorset Dishes of the Eighteenth Century is hard to imagine: 'Crate very fine 8 large sticks of horseradish and put into it three tablespoonfuls of white chile vinegar, a teaspoonful of mixed mustard and a gill of good cream, a gill of good white sauce seasoned with a little cayenne, some salt and very little white sugar. Then freeze the sauce as ice cream and serve.'
By this time, there was a clear division in sauce making. Catsups (from the Chinese koe-chiap meaning a relish or pickled fish sauce) were in fashion. Some included mustard, and many were combined in complicated mixtures. But also appearing were new recipes for very simple sauces. A mixture of butter, vinegar and mustard is frequently cited, not just for pork and fish dishes, but also for simpler fare such as 'sodde Eggs', hard-boiled eggs quartered, then fried in butter before being seasoned with vinegar and mustard.
From Germany, presumably with the Hanoverian Elector, had come sauces for brawn and boar's head which introduced as the sweet element port or red-currant jelly. The variations on this were many, most notably the sauce we now consider indisputably English: Cumberland.
By the time of George IV, with Carême installed in the palm-tree-columned kitchens of Brighton Pavilion, an incredible number of sauces – taking days to make – were appearing on the royal table, including Sauce Ravigote à l'Ancienne: with onions, Chablis, consommé, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, gherkins, capers, herbs simmered, then added to a Sauce Espagnole, strained, 1 teaspoon mustard added, strained again then a little butter added just before serving – one wonders whether the mustard would have been noticed by its absence.
More obviously noticeable was mustard's inclusion in the many salad dressings that abounded. Richard Dolby, who had made the Thatched House Tavern in St James's Street so fashionable a venue for the Regency bucks, created a dressing, clearly similar to a rémoulade (p. 69); while Dr Kitchiner in his pompously titled Apicius Redivivus, The Cook's Oracle has a salad dressing which became popular as Dr Kitchiner's Salad Cream. A mixture of eggs (hard-boiled), cream, vinegar and mustard, this appears throughout the century in slightly varying guises to become universally known as English Salad Cream. Well made, it is very good, though the commercial travesties today do little to recommend its appearance on the table.
Mustard is used in these salad dressings, and often in mayonnaise, not just for its flavour. For one of mustard's great properties is that it acts as an emulsifier, thickening the sauce by 'holding' together the droplets of oil and vinegar. It is thus very useful in the making, too, of somewhat tricky sauces, such as hol-landaise, since it minimizes the threat of curdling. Chemically, this is due to its absorption powers: the powdered seed absorbs up to one and a half times its own weight of oil, and twice of vinegar.
Today, once more, we have veered toward simpler sauces though with a certain amount of misplaced enthusiasm for odd combinations. There are some occasions when even mustard cannot come to the rescue, in spite of this suggestion in a recent American book: 'If lobster and blueberries or duck livers and kiwi fruit must be combined, mustard in a light cream sauce can give them togetherness.' This is to abuse both our digestions and mustard.
The basic recipe for vinaigrette has hardly changed in 300 years. The English name – French dressing – recognizes the French influence in the addition of oil to the dressing. Previously, we had swamped our salads – and much else – with little but vinegar and sugar, much to the astonishment, and complaint, of foreign visitors. John Evelyn, with memories of vinegar and sugar being 'the constant vehicles', devised a perfect 'sallet dressing': 'Take of clear, and perfectly good Oyl-Olive, three Parts; of sharpest Vinegar (sweetest of all Condiments – for so some pronounce it, perhaps for that it incites Appetite, and causes Hunger, which is the best Sauce), Limon, or Juice of Orange, one Part, and therein let steep some Slices of Horse-Radish, with a little Salt; Some in a separate Vinegar, gently bruise a Pod of Guinny-Pepper [cayenne pepper], straining both the Vinegars apart, to make use of Either, or One alone, or of both, as they best like; then add as much Tewkesbury, or other dry Mustard grated, as will lie upon an Half-Crown Piece: Beat, and mingle all these very together; but pour not on the Oyl and Vinegar, ''till immediately before the Sallet is ready to be eaten: And then with the Yolk of two new-laid Eggs (boyl'd and prepar'd, as before is taught) squash, and bruise them all into mash with a Spoon; and lastly, pour it all upon the Herbs.'
With minor changes, that is the recipe we give here, and it is commonly used today. We do add sugar, despite Evelyn's comment that it 'is almost wholly banishedfrom all, except the more effeminate palates', and, for this basic vinaigrette, we omit the egg yolks – though they make for a deliciously creamy dressing, the beginnings of a rémoulade in fact. Remembering his note 'That the Liquids may be made more, or less Acid, as is most agreeable to your Taste', you can of course change the proportions of oil to vinegar. Many writers recommend a one to five, or one to six ratio: much will depend on the vinegar, the mustard, the salad to be dressed. Your palate, of course, is the final arbiter.
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon wine, cider or Horseradish vinegar (p.61)
3 tablespoons best olive oil Maldon salt freshly ground black pepper
Mix the sugar, mustard and vinegar of your choice to a paste. Beat in the oil to make a thick liaison, then season – lightly – with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust the proportions, if wished, accordingly. Makes enough dressing for a salad for 4-6
In Spain, a dash of mustard powder is often added to vinaigrettes – one of the very few appearances of mustard in the Spanish kitchen. In this yellow sauce – Salsa Amarilla – it is blended with Madeira and stock, and is very reminiscent of Apicius with his 'wine, oil, broth, vinegar, mustard and pepper' combinations. We tried it with a good boiling fowl, cold pork and beef: excellent in all cases.
125 g/4 oz freshly grated horseradish
1 small shallot, very finely chopped a pinch of cayenne pepper
1.1 litres/2 pints red wine vinegar
Separate the egg whites from the yolks, pressing the former through a fine sieve and reserving. Mash the yolks, then stir in the Madeira to make a thick paste. Beat in the oil drop by drop, whisking well all the time, then add a good pinch of salt. Warm the stock until just beginning to melt and beat, slowly and thoroughly, into the mixture. Add the vinegar, mustard and pepper. In Spain they use mustard powder but the Dijon gives a smoother sauce. Lastly, stir in the egg whites. Makes about 300 ml/½ pint.
There is a certain amount of entanglement historically between the sauces rémoulade and tartare. Rémoulade was probably invented during the eighteenth century, along with so many other classic sauces. Certainly, Menon, the prolific French writer of the 1740s and 1750s, mentions it. His recipe is fairly simple, basically a vinaigrette with shallots, garlic, capers, anchovies, parsley and mustard added. By the nineteenth century, hard-boiled egg yolks – occasionally also a raw egg yolk – have made their appearance. At the close of the century, it seems firmly established that sheltering under the name of rémoulade are two, significantly different, versions of the sauce. The household recipe is based on hard-boiled egg yolks, with seasonings and oil added: the restaurant version has mayonnaise as the foundation – giving what many people today would recognize as Sauce Tartare. Curnonsky, in Bons Plats, Bons Vins (1949), gives both varieties of the rémoulade – though several pages apart and with no comment on either. To add to the confusion, his Sauce Tartare is very similar to the (household) rémoulade, but with an interesting note that the liaison will not hold very long so should be made at the last moment. If necessary though, one can substitute a raw egg yolk for one of the hard-boiled yolks 'but it is no longer a true Sauce Tartare'. We have now come full circle to today's generally accepted method of making Sauce Rémoulade. It is creamier, less heavy and rich than the mayonnaise-based sauce (though both are indisputably good) and is often given as the alternative foundation to mayonnaise for making Sauce Tartare. So, if you should be given a sauce by another name that you thought was tartare (or rémoulade) it is perhaps comforting to know that neither you, nor the chef, has gone mad.
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1 raw egg yolk
1 teaspoon wine or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard Maldon salt freshly ground black pepper
150 ml/¼ pint best olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon finely snipped chives
1 teaspoon chervil
1 teaspoon drained, chopped capers
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Mash the hard-boiled egg yolks with the vinegar to a smooth paste, then beat in the raw egg yolk. Add the mustard with a touch of salt and pepper, then whisk in the oil slowly, as when making mayonnaise. When it is thick and smooth, stir in the chopped herbs, capers and, finally, the anchovy paste. Serves 4
Mayonnaise is perhaps the classic summer sauce. Thick, rich and gleaming golden yellow, home-made mayonnaise is instantly distinguishable from its commercial cousins. Sadly its making seems to inspire terror in many though with the electric blender – provided all the ingredients are at room temperature, and a stern patience is adhered to in the initial pouring of the oil – it is magically simple. Room temperature, incidentally, does not mean the kitchen in a New Orleans house on a June day – the oil should be clear but not hot: cooks in the tropics usually have to cool it a little on ice before proceeding. Should you want, however, to make the sauce on a cold winter's day, you may have to stand the oil – if it is at all cloudy – in a warm room for a few hours, or put it in a bowl of warm water, until it is crystal clear. If the bowl is very cold, rinse that in warm water too, then dry very thoroughly. With a mustard mayonnaise, of course, the problems are slightly eased by the fact that the mustard itself acts as an emulsifier.
2-3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Maldon salt
1 teaspoon wine or cider vinegar or juice of ½ lemon
300 ml/ ½ pint olive oil
Whisk the egg yolks thoroughly in a large bowl. Many advocate a wooden spoon for the beating but a whisk is easier and quite satisfactory. Add the mustard and salt and a few splashes of vinegar and whisk again. Then pour a few drops of oil into the bowl – it is best to have the oil in a jug for easy control. Whisking all the time, add a few more drops of oil only after the last have been absorbed by the eggs. As the liaison thickens you can pour the oil in a slow stream but in the beginning do go slowly. Whisk until really thick and the mayonnaise falls with a 'plop', then add a few more drops of vinegar (or lemon juice) to sharpen lightly. Should disaster strike and the sauce curdle, start again with another egg yolk in a clean bowl, adding the curdled mixture drop by drop as before. The mayonnaise will keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, through if the sauce does not come to the top of the jar, you may have to skim off the surface skin. Until experience makes a confident 'mayonnaiser' of you, start with 3 egg yolks; after that you will find that you need only 2. You can also, of course, experiment with different mustards to vary the flavour subtly. Serves 6(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Mustard Book"
Copyright © 2010 Rosamond Man and Robin Weir.
Excerpted by permission of Grub Street.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Botany and horticulture,
Mustard and medicine,
Commercial mustard makers: Dijon,
Paris and the Provinces,
England and the United States,
Making mustard at home,
5 Chicken and turkey,
8 Lamb and mutton,
10 Offal and veal,
11 Vegetables and pickles,
12 Puddings et al,