“‘There’s cold beef in the kitchens. And mustard in a big stone jar, from Oldtown.’ The thought of that mustard made the old woman smile.” -Feast for Crows
I have a confession to make.
I don’t actually like mustard.
I’ve tried to cultivate an appreciation for it over the years, but without any great success. Thankfully, the Inn is filled with mustard fiends, all of whom were more than happy to be tastetesters for this particular post.
Because it is hand ground, the Roman mustard is very coarse, with a bit of a crunch lent it by the larger pieces of mustard seed. The ground nuts combined with the vinegar and honey to make a sort of binder for the seeds, tying the whole condiment together. The resulting spread has a notable bite to it, and is deliciously rustic. Even I could learn to love it.
The modern mustard also has a bite, but like any good mustard, the bite is not cumulative. Not as coarse as many imported French mustards, it has just enough graininess to give it a pleasant old world feel. Rich and profoundly mustardy, it i Is particularly delicious with a sharp cheddar, and would pair brilliantly with ham. It tastes like an expensive blend from a rural farmer’s market, one that you would have no regrets about purchasing.
Roman Mustard Recipe
 MUSTARD BEANSALITER: FABACIÆ EX SINAPI[The beans previously cooked are seasoned with] CRUSHED MUSTARD SEED, HONEY, NUTS, RUE, CUMIN, AND SERVED WITH VINEGAR.
- 1 cup black or brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, chopped fine
- 2-3 teaspoons salt
- a pinch of cumin
- honey to taste (I used about 2 Tbs.)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Grind the whole mustard seeds for a few seconds in a spice or coffee grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. You want them mostly whole. Add the chopped nuts and grind into a paste. Move everything to a bowl and add the salt, cumin, honey, and cold water. Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour in the vinegar and stir well. When the vinegar is incorporated, pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge. Wait at least 24 hours before using. Mustard made this way will last several months in the fridge.
Modern Mustard Recipe
- 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 3 Tablespoons dry mustard
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup tarragon vinegar (or any other herb vinegar)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or any mixture of fresh herbs that you enjoy)
Put the seeds, dry mustard, and water in a bowl. Let this mixture stand 2 hours or until the seeds become soft. Stir mixture every 15 minutes or so. When the seeds are soft, put the mixture in the food processor and run until the mixture is smooth. This took about 5 minutes. I wanted some texture to remain in my mustard so I left some seed pieces. Add the vinegar, honey, salt and herbs. Place in a lidded jar and allow to stand at room temperature to mellow. This mixture will be very hot. Once the mustard is to your taste (mine took about 1.5 hours) keep it in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for several months, but could be stored if you choose to use the proper canning technique.