Monday, 22 April 2013

Cooking with mustard from the Maille boutique

Cooking with mustard

Mustard, like vinegar, is an essential condiment for the well-stocked kitchen. I always have at least three varieties of mustard in my fridge, for both cooking and sandwiches: Coleman's English mustard gives a nice kick to sandwiches, Dijon is essential for salad dressing, and whole grain mustard is great with pork and pasta. And all serve for many other uses as well.

I always make my salad dressing fresh, usually French vinaigrette, in just the quantity that I need at the time. I've made it often enough that I don't need a recipe or measuring utensils, but basically it is David Lebovitz's classic mix.

Whole grain mustard is probably my favourite mustard - it combines flavour and texture and is useful in all sorts of cooking, from Indian to Italian and French. One of my staple recipes is pork and mushroom pasta in a mustard garlic sauce - you just sauté strips of pork with mushrooms and garlic in butter and olive oil, add a few dollops of mustard at the end (with a sprinkling of chives, if available), and throw it over pasta. I start boiling the pasta at the same time I start cooking, because it is that quick.

Another favourite is baked chicory with chicken in a sage and mustard sauce. It calls for both Dijon and whole grain mustard, so is chock-full of mustardy goodness. Check out my Cooking with Mustard pinterest board for these and other mustard recipes (and please share your favourite mustard recipes in the blog comments).

Maille boutique

With my mustard obsession, it was essential that I visit the Maille boutique in Paris located at 6 place de la Madeleine, just opposite the Madeleine church.

Early 19th century neo-classical Madeleine church

The area is full of fine food shops, and the upscale boutiques of rue Saint-Honoré are just around the corner. But the great thing about mustard is that anyone can afford it, even the fine and fancy blends offered by the Maille boutique. Maille has been making vinegar and mustard since 1747, so one can assume they have probably perfected their technique by now.

With more than 40 varieties of mustards to choose from, as you can imagine I was like a child in a candy shop.

wall of mustards

After much vascillating, I came away with four small pots - citron & harissa, pistachio & orange, gingerbread & chestnut honey, and celeriac & truffle shavings. Unfortunately I had to ignore the offerings of vinegar and cornichons, due to limited baggage space... next time!

Ridiculously pleased with the Maille experience

I tried the celeriac & truffle in a salad dressing last night, and it was AMAZING! The handy little brochure I received with my purchase gives serving suggestions for each of the mustards. According to Maille, I am to try the lemon & harissa with bbq meat and grilled fish, the gingerbread & chestnut honey with salmon or pork, and the pistachio & orange with seafood pasta.

I can only say... d'accord!