Mustard: End Of Jar Scenario

empty mustard jarWell it happened.

It was bound to, too. My mustard jar is empty. I have spooned the last of it into my mouth. I feel it is time to call an end to this journey into the land of mustard. Au Revoir!

But as my hand hovers over the recycling bin, I can’t help but notice all the mustard that still clings to the sides of the jar. 

There is probably two tablespoons of mustard stuck to the sides of the jar. But I do not have the patience or the right implements to get the last tenacious, misty remnants scraped off and into my mouth.

Or do I?

I am sure the last of the mustard is just as good as the first.

Maybe this residual mustard was not lucky enough to make it into my lighter “hollandaise style” sauce. Perhaps it was too shy to throw it all on the line for “mussels amour”. Whose fault is it if this particular bit of mustard was too timid to stand next to a “big-cheese” like double-cheddar.

I never even gave this mustard a shot at inclusion in my “poached chicken“ recipe. But that was my fault. I wanted to make homemade mustard. This tiny bit of mustard should not be punished for my thoughtless actions.

It’s no wonder that by the time the “swordfish kabobs” and “potato gratin” came around, these last bits of mustard had retreated.  Clinging aimlessly to the side of the jar. How could any of it have known that there might be another shot at infamy. Another road to glory. A final pathway to genius!

Perfect Mustard VinaigretteI mean I can’t just throw all that good mustard away.

Fortunately I know what every French housewife has built into her DNA. With a splash and a swirl I can fulfill this mustard’s destiny! 

I will simply add three-parts oil and one-part vinegar directly into the jar with the survivors of my mustard adventure. Combined with a little salt and pepper, it’s the perfect solution…vinaigrette.

Every last mustard molecule will be incorporated into the vinaigrette. And guess what? These tenacious survivors will have the ultimate honor of being a part of the greatest and simplest mustard concoction ever created. 

Endive Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette2 tablespoons very good mustard
1/3 cup mild vinegar (Champagne, white wine, rice wine)
1 cup very good, extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. You can add all the ingredients into the mustard jar and shake vigorously.
2. Alternatively, you may whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl.
3. Slowly add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. A thick creamy, fully emulsified dressing is your goal. Add the salt and pepper. Additional seasoning such as citrus juice, dill, tarragon, rosemary, honey, or shallots can also be incorporated at this time.

A simple vinaigrette like this can turn even the simplest of salads into a gourmet experience. 

The possibilities are endless…

Here I added a little lemon and dill to the vinaigrette. It will elegantly dress a salad of freshly chopped Belgian endive (nothing else!).

Serve this with a few slices of cold roasted chicken and lunch is served.

So the blossoms may have started to fade. The long hard dry season will soon start. The hills near my house will go from vibrant green and sunny yellow to a dusty hazy brown very soon. 

mustard flowersBut there are possibilities in those hills. Even as the mustard sets seed and dies back. 

I am going to take a few paper plates and nestle them into some of the bigger patches of mustard in my secret hideaways. As the seeds develop and fall onto the plates I can sweep them up and take them home.

It’s all part of nature’s great bounty.

Of course I can’t get my hands on ALL the mustard seeds. Nor would I want to because many of those seeds will find their way into the earth on the hills near my house.

There they will nestle in and hunker down, waiting. Waiting for the rains. It won’t rain enough in the next 6 months to disturb their sleep. 

But when the real rain comes next winter, these seeds will germinate and the whole glorious ritual will begin anew.

Here’s to next years mustard!


Greg Henry