How to Make Mostarda

by Amy Sherman
Print Email

mostardaI spent a year living in Europe, and six months of that was in Italy. Having eaten a lot of Italian food, I like to think I understand it, perhaps just a little. In fact, whenever I try to recreate an Italian dish I think back to earlier versions that I've eaten. What was it that I liked about it? What was the essence of the dish?

In all my time in Italy, I don't remember trying mostarda. It's not surprising really because the most well-known versions come from Veneto, Lombardia and Piemonte. Most of my time was spent in Tuscany. But I still think I understand mostarda, just a bit. It's like an Italian chutney I suppose. Don't make the mistake of translating it as "mustard". Mostarda does have a little bit of mustard in it, but it's really a combination of preserved fruit in syrup with a bit of a kick. The kick comes from mustard oil, mustard essence, dry mustard, mustard seeds or some combination thereof. Other ingredients include sugar or honey, wine, vinegar and sometimes citrus juice.

When I am developing a recipe, I often look for several variations then strike off on my own. The recipes I found for mostarda varied greatly--some used dry fruit, others fresh fruit. Some cooked slowly others cooked quickly. Some had lots of mustard, others barely a pinch. My own experiment lead me to this conclusion: Mostarda is very forgiving and can easily be made to your own taste. You can taste as you go and make changes.

 

Here's how I made my first version. Please note all amounts are approximations. I'm including the links to the recipes that influenced my own recipe. Mario Batali's version at the Food Network, one from About.com's Italian Food section, Food and Wine's recipe and a particularly tedious thread on eGullet on the subject.

My Mostarda
makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
6 small apricots cut into quarters
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup white wine
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons light mustard seeds
1 Tablespoons dry mustard powder

Instructions:

Place the dried fruit in a non-reactive saucepan and barely cover with water. Add the sugar, wine and vinegar. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Add the fresh fruit, mustard seeds and mustard powder and continue just barely simmering for another 10 minutes. The fruit should hold it's shape but be supple and moist. Taste for seasonings. Add more water or wine or mustard as you wish. The finished product should be somewhat thick and syrupy. Serve with pate, charcuterie, cheese, or a boiled dinner like bollito misto. Store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

 

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy .   

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

My Mom and The Salty Dog Cafe
Southern States
by Laura Johnson

saltydog2.jpgThe Salty Dog Cafe in Hilton Head, SC is not your typical place to take Mom for Mother's Day. However, I think all Mothers should eat exactly what they want on their big day and nothing foots the...

Read more...
Cafe Orlin
New York
by Lisa Locascio

1cafeorlin.jpgThere are many foods I will not miss about New York City: street cart hot dogs dressed in a syrupy mess called “onions,” over-priced dry pasta from ancient red sauce joints in Little Italy, the...

Read more...
La Dolce Vita
Los Angeles
by Pamela Felcher

teachersdesk.jpgAs I have mentioned, I am a teacher in the LAUSD and this year the budget cuts cost me dearly. I lost the auxiliary class I have taught for the last nine years, and though this class added the...

Read more...
Seafood Along the Rhode Island Shore
New England
by David Latt

riflosIf you've come to the area to enjoy great food, there's more to Rhode Island than just Providence. Hop in your car and head south. Everywhere you go, you'll be rewarded with wonderful meals in...

Read more...