So much more than bright yellow squiggles on a hotdog, mustard is a complex and timeless condiment. Made from the seeds of a mustard plant and typically mixed with other ingredients such as water, salt, lemon juice, and other spices, mustard comes in many artful varieties to give an exquisite kick to your grubs, whether all-American BBQ or worldly cuisine. Match mustard with meats and cheeses on its own, or add it to marinades, dips, and salad dressings for an instant flavor punch. Clear your cupboards (and, in some cases, your sinuses) for these zippy must-have mustards!
Types of mustard
Your good ol’ yellow mustard is mild and creamy, made bright yellow by the turmeric plant. This is the stuff of American State Fair and backyard BBQ dreams, delicious paired simply with a pretzel, hamburger or hotdog.
Go ahead, silence that “n” and say it in the nose: Di-ZHOn. Dijon, France became the center for making mustard long before the invention of squeeze bottles. Made with white wine rather than verjuice (the green juice from unripe grapes), Dijon is très bon in vinaigrettes or with deviled eggs.
Whole-grain mustard, as the name implies, is made with whole mustard seeds. Its texture and rich flavor make it a great complement for lamb and poultry.
Sweet surrender! A beautiful blend of (wait for it…) honey and mustard, honey mustard makes a wonderful dip for just about anything. Use honey mustard to sweeten up hors d’oeuvres, combine it with olive oil for a salad dressing or use it in a glaze for grilled lamb or pork chops.
An umbrella category that includes honey mustard, sweet mustard is mustard seed sweetened with honey, applesauce, or sugar and is customary in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Serve sweet mustard with Bavarian sausage or bologna.
Popular in Italy and known as Mostarda, fruit mustards involve preserving large chunks of fruit, such as apples or cherries, in a sweet, hot mustard syrup. Molto buono with boiled meat and cheeses if you’re feeling European.
Spicy brown mustard
Yellow mustard’s older, wiser sibling, spicy brown mustard looks speckled because its seeds are coarsely ground. It is indeed a zestier variety, but not as triple-alarm as hot mustard (see below). One variety of spicy brown mustard is Creole Mustard, which comes from a black mustard seed grown in Louisiana. Use brown mustard to mature your standard sandwich or brat.
Ay ay ay! Hot mustard brings the heat with pungent black or brown mustard seeds rather than white ones used in milder varieties. Chinese mustard is a particularly sharp version of hot mustard, prepared by diluting dry, dark mustard seed and high acid vinegar, among other piquant ingredients, in water. This is the perfect dipping sauce for egg rolls.
Mustard is easy to make and fun to customize, so get your DIY on. In no time, you’ll be paving the way for the next culinary trend.
So there you have it: the must-have mustard you absolutely must try. (It's a job for colonel Mustard. In the kitchen. With a butter knife…) Now go put mustard on something!