Making Mustard from Scratch | Food, Feb. 2012

Written by on February 1, 2012 in Food, From this Issue | February 2012 - No comments

Bold and Flavorful

Executive Chef Joseph Martin helps master the art of crafting savory mustard

Using whole mustard seeds to make mustard is a commitment to a time-consuming process. Let our culinary artisan Joseph Martin, executive chef of 18 on the Square in Shelbyville, show you how to experiment with a variety of ingredients to find a favorite recipe.

Martin says he learned to cook from some of the greatest women in the world –– his mother and grandmother. So it’s only natural that his culinary insights help spread the love to your family and friends when creating this spicy condiment.

FoodIf you want your mustard to remain spicy, never heat the mustard seeds or powder.

“Once you have heated up the liquid that you soak your mustard seeds in, the cooking process activates their potency, which will dissipate very rapidly,” he says. But if you want a milder mustard, it’s OK to heat the seeds.

There are other ways to tweak the flavors. Substitute beer for the vinegar. Or use fresh herbs, incorporating them in the last possible step.

“The essential oils that are extracted from herbs dissipate very quickly, especially in heat or from overworking, like in a processor,” Martin explains.

“Dry herbs carry a different flavor profile and deliver a more ‘earthy, carbon-rich’ flavor than that of fresh herbs. Your desired final product should dictate which route you take. I use plenty of dried spices from allspice to turmeric, but hardly ever use dried herbs. The fresh flavor is just unbeatable.”

Martin provides these recipes and tips to add spice to your dishes with artisan mustards.

Basic Mustard Recipe
Makes 1 1⁄2 cups

6 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
6 tablespoons mustard powder
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup vinegar, any kind will do
Pinch of salt

Soak the mustard powder and seeds in vinegar for at least three hours or up to a day.

Once soaked, place mixture in blender or food processor and blend on low speed for one minute. For a smoother mustard, use a blender.

Add sugar and honey. Blend for another minute and season with salt.

Note: It’s imperative that you let the mixture rest for an hour or so to let the flavors develop and combine, Martin says.

This recipe is on the spicy side. If you’re a fan of milder mustard, heat the vinegar and mustard mixture to a simmer and cook on low for 3 to 5 minutes. Let it cool completely, and then follow the recipe from there.

Caraway Mustard
Makes 1 1⁄2 cups

1 1⁄2 cups whole-grain mustard
1⁄4 cup dark beer, like a porter or stout
1⁄8 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until incorporated. Season with salt to taste. Use for a pretzel dip, to accompany cheeses and cured meats or as a tasty sandwich spread.

Tarragon Mustard
Makes 1 1⁄2 cups

1 1⁄2 cups Dijon mustard
1⁄4 cup white wine
1⁄8 cup tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Optional: 1 tablespoon chopped cornichon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until incorporated and season with salt to taste.

Chef Profile


Executive Chef Joseph Martin

Executive Chef Joseph Martin started down the culinary path at age 17 while working a summer job at Middleton Place Plantation in Charleston, S.C. He cooked at several places while studying business at Clemson University.

Back in Charleston, he developed a true passion for creating food.

“Huck’s Lowcountry Table was the biggest springboard for my development,” Martin says. “I learned a lot about myself and what I really wanted to serve –– food that tastes great with a lean toward comfort food.”

His culinary philosophy is to keep dishes simple –– not add a lot of rare ingredients –– while still creating with flavors that develop on the palate.

“We’re crafting memories when people eat,” he says. “My fondest memories are around the table at my parents’ house, Thanksgiving time, Christmas breakfast, a crab boil or pig pickin’ (at a hog roast) out at my house.

“Of course, food has to taste good, but the companionship and memories associated with the food need to be priceless.”

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