If you think mustard is around just for doling out a teaspoonful of it to sit beside your steak, think again, say top Chefs.
Apart from a basic condiment there are unlimited opportunities to blend in a dash of mustard into any number of recipes.
Meat glazes, deglazing pans, a dollop in salad dressings, coatings and crusts, a dijonnaise dip and using it with lamb, chicken and seafood instead of just beef can add a zing to any dish. Much like mayonnaise has had its time in the sun, mustard and relishes have also had a return to favour.
“We use a lot of mustard in a lot of dishes,” says Luke Powell of LP’s Quality Meats in Chippendale, Sydney. “We’re always joking that we’ve got all the mustards”– American mustard, hot English mustard, Dijon mustard, wholegrain mustard then we make our own mustard using the Young Henry’s Newtowner beer.
“It’s a bit of a process,” he says. They soak black and yellow mustard seeds with onions and vinegar and sugar which sits for about a month. “Otherwise it’s really bitter if you try to blend it up straight away,” he says.
While heat comes from the mustard seed, there is maltiness from the beer, sharpness in the vinegar and a little caramelised sweetness from the sugar.
“It’s not overly sweet like an American mustard and it’s not super balanced either. It’s quite aggressive, it’s got quite a bit of kick to it.”
“It’s definitely our favourite condiment. When we are coming up with our favourite dishes it’s always what else would be good on it, and it’s always, ‘A mustard would be good!’.”
Gallagher Hotels Executive Chef Ronny Ghantous prefers his own housemade relishes and sauces. “We use mustard in quite a bit of stuff. We've got a traditional white parsley sauce which is used on Irish corned beef and hams. We use a Dijon mustard through that to give it a bit of a bite. We do a smoked BBQ relish which uses grain mustard. We've also got a bourbon smoked BBQ sauce for the pulled pork that we have on the menu.”
“We also have a roast pepper harissa relish. I think people like it but it is also what triggers them to order it. More than anything if you have something that says harissa red pepper puree on the menu as opposed to just a red pepper puree, then they go ‘Oh wow! That looks a bit exotic’. We use it on salmon because salmon is quite neutral, and the relish adds a bit of a bite to it.”
In Newtown, Chef Patrick Friesen was on the crest of a wave when he opened South American-inspired barbecue venue Papi Chulo in Manly for the Merivale group in 2014. Sauces, coatings and crusts were a key component in developing the menu.
Friesen uses two types of Tennesse-style sauces – one tomato-based and the other mustard infused which combines American mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, black pepper and vinegar as a base which goes with a pulled pork dish.
The ketchup-based sauce combines soy sauce and Korean chilli powder for a bit more of a kick in beef dishes such as lamb ribs, brisket and pork ribs.
In recent times the meat offering at Papi Chulo has been reduced to accommodate health-focussed patrons with salads and grilled fish offerings, and that means a tweak to the condiments too.
These days a salsa verde picante is paired with whole baby snapper on the gill or a smoked tartare alongside the cherrywood plank ocean trout.
“It’s what the people in Manly want, so we give it to them. We still serve shedloads of meat platters though,” says Friesen.