Blooming field of mustard flowers

Blooming field of mustard flowers courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I am a fanatic about mustard for many reasons. I like the fact that it is low in calories and carbohydrates, has no fat, and is actually good for you. An excellent source of selenium, mustard can also be a good source of magnesium. (Selenium can help reduce asthma severity, decrease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and reputedly can help prevent cancer. Magnesium also helps reduce severity of asthma, reduce frequency of migraines and lowers high blood pressure.)

Mustard Flower

Mustard Flower courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Also, mustard is a nice alternative to fattening mayonnaise. As a condiment, it goes very well with so many dishes; the versatility is amazing. To me, mustard is like wine in that it can enhance the flavors and taste of many dishes. The tangy, yet earthy flavor brings forth a rustic appeal that complements rather than overwhelms. Whether it’s bright canary yellow, muddled brown, sweet, spicy, bitter, coarsely ground or whole seed, mustard comes in many shades and flavors.

After all, what is a hot dog or pretzel without yellow mustard, or a bratwurst without coarse-ground deli mustard? And though mustard it is often called the “spice of nations” due to its universal appeal, the interesting fact is that Americans love their mustard; they consume more than any other nation.

I recently convened a focus group for a mustard tasting, sort of a “mustard show-down” but not with the brands you may be familiar with, like French’s, Dijon, Colmans, or Grey Poupon. I decided to exclusively focus on Fischer & Wieser culinary mustards and mustard-based sauces.

Components of mustard plant - All parts of the mustard plant are edible

Components of mustard plant – All parts of the mustard plant are edible. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I was recently introduced to Fischer & Wieser gourmet products, headquartered in Fredericksburg, Texas, and was impressed by how they can turn an average cook into an extraordinary cook. It’s all in the versatility of their culinary sauces and condiments. (Their product line includes award-winning jams, jellies, salsas, appetizers and pasta sauces.) And to make things even simpler, they provide dozens of free recipes on how to use their culinary products. I have included two of my favorites at the end.

The focus group included both genders, of different ages and backgrounds. Each taster was asked to sample mustards with pretzels or crackers and the sauces with crackers and slices of apples.

I present the top three winners below, followed by product descriptions of each as given by Fischer & Wieser along with awards and serving suggestions. The mustard line-up and winners are as follows:

Fischer & Wieser Mustards and Mustard Sauces

Fischer & Wieser Mustards and Mustard Sauces by Karin Leperi

 

Fischer & Wieser Mustards
1. Sweet Heat
2. Brat Haus Beer – Third place winner
3. Smokey Mesquite – Second place winner

Fischer & Wieser Mustards

Fischer & Wieser Mustards by Karin Leperi

Fisher & Wieser Mustard Sauces
4. Raspberry Wildflower Honey
5. Salted Caramel
6. Sweet, Sour & Smokey – Overall winner in mustard sauce category and grand winner
7. Hickory Cracked Black Pepper

1. The Sweet Heat Mustard is a medium heat with just enough heat to give it an irresistible flavor, with jalapenos and creamy yellow mustard. Gluten Free. This mustard was a finalist in the Sweet-hot Category of the World Wide Mustard Competition, The National Mustard Museum. Some of the tasting notes from the group were: “delicious, spicy and a little smoky” and “gives a sweet molasses kick to the back of the tongue.”

2. The Brat Haus Beer Mustard is a lively combination of beer and mustard seeds that hops across the taste buds. Ideal for sausage, hot dogs, ham and sandwiches, this was named as a finalist in the Spirit Category of the World Wide Mustard Competition, The National Mustard Museum. Tasting notes included: “complex and lingering with a hint of sour” and “smooth, tangy, hot dog flavor.”

Fischer & Wieser Mustard Sauces

Fischer & Wieser Mustard Sauces by Karin Leperi

3. The mesquite-smoked flavor adds the perfect touch to the tang of the whole grain mustard seed in the Smokey Mesquite Mustard. This gluten-free mustard is the perfect addition to ham, sandwiches or hot dogs; it received third place in the Whole Grain category with Food Distribution Magazine, 1999. One taster described it as “tangy, nice bite with a subtle smoky flavor; grains add interest,” while another said, “love the texture and grain along with the nice mesquite-infused flavor.”

4. The Raspberry & Wildflower Honey Mustard Sauce is a classic with an exciting twist. This re-imagined mustard sauce combines the sweetness of honey made from wildflowers with the tartness of raspberries. Use this versatile gluten-free sauce to add sensational flavor to your favorite grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, duck and grilled shrimp. Tasters had this to say: “smooth and light with a soft berry flavor” and “wonderful blend of sweet and tart.”

Serving Suggestions
Finish: Roast beef, pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, fish and wild game
Spread on: Turkey, ham or roast beef sandwiches, and baked goods
Dip: Deli meats, cheeses, chicken tenders
Pair with: Any sweet wine — red, white or blush

5. The Salted Caramel Mustard Sauce sneaks in a salty-sweet punch that is oh-so-satisfying! The initial taste of sea salt and caramel crescendos into a sweet and tangy mustard finale that is perfect as a finishing sauce for baked ham, pork, turkey or chicken. Gluten Free. Tasting notes included: “sweet with a brown sugary punch,” and “wonderful mix and yet contrast of flavors with sweet interspersed with salty.”

Serving Suggestions

Finish: Baked ham, pork tenderloin, turkey or chicken
Spread on: Turkey, ham or roast beef sandwiches, and baked goods
Dip: Deli meats, cheeses and chicken tenders
Pair with: Any sweet wine — red, white or blush

6. Sweet, Sour & Smokey Mustard Sauce is no ordinary mustard. This international award-winning gluten-free mustard sauce pours new life into classic recipes like potato salad and deviled eggs. It is even sophisticated enough to top Cornish game hens and grilled salmon. Group members had this to say: “Smoky with a honey-like flavor” and “With this wonderful complexity of flavors it just begs for ham.”

An interesting observation:This was extremely popular with older members of the focus group while the younger members were somewhat overwhelmed with the flavors and thus tended to rate it average. Even so, it came out as the overall winner of both mustards and mustard-based sauces.

Bronze Medal
Mustard-Based BBQ sauce category
World Wide Mustard Competition, The National Mustard Museum

Bronze Award
Mustard Based BBQ Sauce
Napa Valley World Wide Mustard Competition, 2007

Gold Award
Dressings and Sauces
Napa Valley World Wide Mustard Competition, 2004

Serving Suggestions
Mix into: Deviled eggs or potato salad
Glaze: Ham, roasted chicken or pork chops
Dip: Sausage, cheese or pretzels
Baste on: Root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips

TIP: When you are almost out of Sweet, Sour, & Smokey Mustard Sauce pour in some red wine vinegar and olive oil in the bottle and shake vigorously for a quick homemade vinaigrette.

Fischer & Wieser Culinary Products

Fischer & Wieser Culinary Products photo by Karin Leperi

7. The Hickory & Cracked Black Pepper Mustard Sauce boldly delivers a sharp savory culinary experience. Smokey mustard combines with the rich spice of cracked black pepper and a burst of mustard seeds to deliver remarkable flavor. Pair with your favorite meats and cheeses for a fabulous charcuterie tray; spread on a well-stacked turkey sandwich or pour over your favorite pork roast entrée. This is a mustard for any occasion. Group members had this to say: “Slightly sweet but not peppery, more like turmeric,” while two other tasters said, “Some grains of pepper but no pepper taste” and “Sweet but not peppery.”

Serving Suggestions
Finish: Baked ham, pork roast or rack of lamb
Spread on: Turkey, ham or roast beef sandwiches
Dip: Deli meats, cheeses and chicken tenders
Pair with: Any dry wine — red, white or blush

RECIPES

Brat Haus Beer Mustard & Bacon Creamed Smashed Potatoes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

2-1/2 pounds small red new potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
½ cup Fischer & Wieser Brat Haus Beer Mustard
½ cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Parsley sprigs for garnish

Place the unpeeled potato quarters in a heavy 6-quart saucepan. Add cold water to cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, combine the Fischer & Wieser Brat Haus Beer Mustard, whipping cream, melted butter and crumbled bacon in a medium sized bowl. Whisk to blend well; set aside. Drain the potatoes in a colander and immediately return them to the pan. Using a potato masher, smash the potatoes, leaving them a little chunky. Stir in the mustard mixture, blending well. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve hot. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Serves 6 to 8.

Salted Caramel Mustard Flan
This flan recipe has the same traditional flavor of a flan up front, but the finish is exquisite because it captures a little spicy bite at end.

Prep Time: 25-30 minutes
Bake Time: 90 minutes
For caramel: 1 cup of granulated sugar
For Custard: 5 whole eggs
1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk
1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup Fischer & Wieser Salted Caramel Mustard Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt sugar by gradually adding into a sauce pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all sugar is a medium brown and without lumps. (Careful not to burn it.) Pour caramel (melted sugar) while still hot into 6 small ramekins, coating the bottom evenly. Incorporate eggs, evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla and Fischer & Wieser Salted Caramel Mustard into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour blended mixture over caramel into ramekins and then place into a water bath (a 13” x 9” baking pan with 1” of water). Bake in oven for 90 minutes at 350 degrees. When ready, let cool for 15 minutes then run a knife around the edge of each ramekin carefully to loosen it. Place plate large enough to hold ramekin upside down over it, and flip the plate quickly and carefully, inverting the flan. Chill for 1 hour before serving. Serves 6

To make a garnish, drizzle a thin trail of warm caramel in swirls on a piece of waxed paper and allow to cool. Peel away waxed paper; break into pieces and place on flan.