Blackbird’s wood-stoked brick oven and their Mostarda pizza…a food that makes me swoon. What is the beguiling sweetness that substitutes for sauce and holds the crisp-edged prosciutto onto the thin, bubbled crust? Sitting at the bar one night, the chef passed over the jar: mostarda, an Italian condiment made by cooking fruit with wine, vinegar, sugar, and mustard seeds. As luck would have it, my friend, Meg, forwarded a Food & Wine cranberry version last week. (It’s now 2015 and I can’t imagine Thanksgiving without my two favorite cranberry condiments: freshly cranberry sauce with Cognac and this sweeter, spicier, more jelly-like mostarda.
Soak the mustard seeds in the wine overnight, then cook the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan no more than 30 minutes. As it’s bubbling away, watch for it to thicken slightly, then do the “coat the back of a spoon” test: dip spoon, turn it over and look for a thickened film to coat the back, if you think it’s there, swipe a finger over the spoon back and it should leave a track through the “jelly”. At this point, remove pot from heat and add the dried cranberries and orange zest. Let it sit at room temperature to cool. If it hasn’t started to thicken within 30 – 60 minutes, return it to the stovetop and cook a few more minutes. (I’ve done this even after adding the dried cranberries, so don’t worry, it’ll be fine!)
- 2 ½ Tablespoons mustard seeds (yellow, or a mix of yellow and brown)
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- the soaked mustard seeds and wine
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon dry mustard powder (I use Colman's in the yellow tin)
- 2 cups dried cranberries
- zest from ½ orange
- Soak the mustard seeds in the wine at room temperature overnight.
- In heavy-bottomed saucepan add the soaked mustard seeds and wine, sugar, vinegar, mustard powder and cook without stirring until the syrup coats the back of a spoon, approximately 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the dried cranberries and orange zest. Let cool then store in covered container in the refrigerator.