Kick Up The Flavor With Mustard

You often hear folks trying to eat healthier complain about the lack of flavor in their food. Which ok, fine, switching from fried chicken to a baked chicken can sometimes mean taking a hit in the flavor department. And I remember years ago, during some of my “dieting” days, steamed chicken breast was a staple that got old pretty quickly. But fresh food does not have to be that way if you can get yourself to stretch your creative muscles a little bit.

mustard

Instead of relegating mustard to the realm of hot dogs and deli sandwiches, there are a so many other food items you can kick up the flavor levels with by adding a bit of mustard. Not only that, most mustards are going to be very low in calories, so you get a great boost to flavor without the worry.

Types of Mustard

There are four basic categories of mustard, the one everyone in the US is probably most familiar with is yellow mustard, the top seller and go-to mustard for hot dogs, potato salad and deviled eggs.

Dijon mustard is probably the next most known thanks in part to those Grey Poupon commercials of yore. The flavor is mellower and works great with fish and chicken dishes or in salad dressings.

Next up is your brown or deli-style mustard. This is the mustard typically associated with deli-style sandwiches and brats. They tend to be pretty robust and tangy… some even sold as “spicy”.

Finally is whole-grain mustards, also known as coarse-grain or country-style. These tend to have lots of cracked seed in them and might even be considered “gourmet”, there is a LOT of variety in the flavors and styles in this category due to all the different liquids and such that can be used in making them.

The above mustards above, and the yellow mustard in particular, are what is usually referred to as prepared mustard in recipes. You can also buy a variety of whole mustard seeds to grind yourself, and mustard powders which are already ground up for you. Mustard powder or freshly ground mustard seeds can be used in a variety of recipes to add new flavors.

Suggestions

Adding a touch of mustard to your usual chicken or tuna salad can add another dimension, but don’t stick to regular yellow mustard. Try some mustard powder, that spicy brown or other “gourmet” styles to really add a new depth of flavor.

Or make your own salad dressing, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp dijon or your favorite whole-grain mustard and either some Greek or Italian seasonings are a good start. Don’t bother with yellow mustard here, it’s flavor is likely going to be too pungent for using on salad greens.

Try adding some mustard to some of your favorite marinades for just about any kind of meat, or spread a mild mustard on fish fillets before broiling or baking.

Have a favorite bbq sauce that you use but maybe have gotten a bit tired of? Mixing in about a teaspoon to a half-cup of the bbq sauce can bring a subtle, but flavorful new depth to the sauce.

With just a little daring, you’ll find all sorts of ways you can make use of mustard to spice up your home-cooking! Coming soon I’ll dive in to how to make your own mustard, in the meantime, feel free to share some of your own suggestions or favorite dishes that include mustard.

photo credit: wikimedia.org

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