If you are fond of fancy charcuterie plates (and short of being vegetarian, why wouldn’t you be?) then you may recognize this particular condiment. Mostarda is a spicy fruit preserve from Northern Italy that is traditionally served with boiled meats. It quite easily makes the side step into improving meat and cheese plates. It’s a fairly unique substance, combining sweet dried fruits, tart vinegar, and mustard into something that isn’t really a relish and isn’t really a jam and isn’t really a chutney. The sweet, sour, mustardy taste is complex and refreshes the palate when you’re enjoying something rich like a creamy cheese or fatty, umami-packed cured meat.
So, next time you’re having a party with nibblies, whip up some mostarda to fancy up your cheese plate or serve it on some crostinis. Or serve it alongside a roast pork loin or pork chops. Or just keep it in your fridge to fancy up your every day foods.
This version uses dried apricots, but you could use just about any dried fruit that you think will best compliment your main – cherries, figs, or cranberries.
This recipe is based on Justin Chapelle’s in Food & Wine‘s July 2015 issue.
Procs: About a cup and a half
Time: About 20 minutes
Difficulty: Mincing the garlic is as hard as it gets
- Non-Reactive saucepan (no aluminum, no copper)
- 1 Cup of roughly chopped dried apricots (mix and match dried fruit as it suits your fancy)
- 1 Clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp of sugar
- 1/2 Cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 Cup of water
- 2 Tbsp of whole seed mustard
- 1 Tbsp of dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- Combine apricots, garlic, shallot, sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 10 minutes until the apricot pieces have plumped up and become tender and the liquid has been reduced to a glaze-like coating.
- Add the mustards and season with salt.
- When the mostarda is room temperature it’s ready for serving. If it seems too thick, thin it out with a few spoonfuls of water.
- Theoretically it lasts a week in the fridge. I usually eat it long before then.
So what fancy-dancy charcuterie did I put this on top of? Why, only the most classic of American cured meat oeuvre.
ProTip: When it comes to cooking, the accessories matter. Taking the little bit of time required to make a condiment or sauce is the fastest way to elevate your dish from “weeknight” cooking to a “dinner party” showstopper. Add-ons like this are also a great way of disguising whatever imperfections your meal might have.
“An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins.” ~Anthony Bourdain