Mustard is a key player in Ashkenazi cooking. The mustard plant, a member of the Brassica family, has some pretty important relatives in cabbage and horseradish. Can you imagine eastern European Jewish cooking without them? Probably not. And you also probably can’t imagine a hot deli pastrami sandwich without spicy ground mustard. Personally, I can’t fathom life without a hot deli pastrami sandwich.
Why make your own mustard? Some store-bought mustard contains thickeners and unnamed “spices.” But more important, homemade mustard is just really good. Liz and I cooked a four-course pop-up dinner one January night at Barjot, a restaurant in Seattle. We made almost everything ourselves, from the schmaltz to the pastries. But we didn’t make mustard because Barjot makes its own. After the meal, a guest pulled me aside and said, “Everything was great, but the mustard is out of this world.” Oof. It was time for us to make our own. This recipe is inspired by Barjot’s.
Ashkenazi mustard should have bite and texture. Smear it on home-dured pastrami and home-cured corned beef, eat it with savory roasted garlic potato knishes and use it for salad dressings.
1 cup whole brown mustard seeds
1¼ cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup mustard powder
2½ tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1) Place the mustard seeds and vinegar in an airtight glass container and let sit at room temperature until the seeds absorb the vinegar and plump up, at least overnight or up to 24 hours.
2) Pour the seed mixture into a food processor and add the mustard powder, honey, and salt. Process for a minute or two until a paste forms.
3) Scoop the mustard into a glass jar, seal, and refrigerate for about 2 days to allow the flavor to mellow out. Don’t be alarmed if the initial smell is rather pungent. The mustard will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 months.
Reprinted from “The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods”.