Photo by Stephanie Staton
You have several choices with mustard: Use commercial mustard powder or grind your own mustard seeds into powder, then let your finished mustard mellow for at least several days. Or soak mustard seeds for a day or two before grinding them in a blender. Regardless, the point is to let your mustard (or soaking seeds) mellow for several days before eating (two weeks is even better).
Try grinding some seeds for texture and mixing them with bought or homemade mustard powder, then whisk everything up and let it mellow. If you don’t have a spice grinder or a coffee grinder reserved for spices—or if you want smooth mustard—leave the seeds out and cut back to 3 tablespoons vinegar.
Go all-out with your herbs. Almost any herb makes mustard better. Don’t forget to try herb combinations, too. Think rosemary chive mustard; lemon thyme with oregano; rosemary and orange thyme; oregano and winter savory; or basil and oregano. Consider adding honey to your mustard and spiking it with lemon thyme or tarragon—delicious as a soft-pretzel dip. Try rosemary mustard on grilled ham-and-Swiss sandwiches. Many of these mustards are also great in deviled eggs.
- 1/3 cup mustard seeds (yellow or brown; brown are spicier)
- 1/3 cup mustard powder (yellow or brown)
- 5 T. white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (Red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar also work, and of course, if you have herbed vinegar on hand, use it.)
- 1/2 cup white wine or water, or a mixture of the two
- 1 tsp. salt, preferably fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup finely chopped herbs, to taste
In a spice grinder or coffee grinder reserved for spices, briefly grind seeds until coarsely chopped. Thoroughly whisk seeds with mustard powder, vinegar, wine, salt and herbs. Cover and let stand at least two days, then taste, adding more herbs and salt as needed. You may also want to stir in a tablespoon or two of brown sugar at this point; if it’s too thick, add vinegar and wine as needed. Chill only after your mustard has reached its desired heat level. (If you chill when too spicy, it will not mellow further.)
Makes 1¼ cups.