The Napa Valley Mustard Festival not only celebrates the warmth of the yellow mustard flowers in bloom, but also the wealth of great chefs that we have in the Napa Valley. Chef Gingrass-Paik of Brix Restaurant loves the slight bitterness and heat of mustard and over her illustrious career at Spago, Postrio and Hawthorne Lane, has made it in several ways. She loves the sweet-hot of Italian Mostardo di frutta which is made with candied fruit, a great contrast served with salty prosciutto. She also makes an asian style mustard with Dijon as a base with freshness of cilantro and slight nuttiness from sesame seeds. Another favorite is an earthy walnut mustard made from whole grain mustard and walnut oil. One of the signature sides at Brix is the crispy fried green beans with hot mustard sauce which Chef Gingrass-Paik says guests insist stay on the menu. Entrees have included pork t-bone with sweet roasted beets and honey mustard or braised rabbit with tarragon honey mustard.
At the Silverado Resort, frequent winner of the chefs’ mustard recipe competition Chef Peter Pahk uses mustard in asian dishes such as mustard-infused lamb dumpling, char siu (cured pork shoulder) with mustard cabbage, pulled pork slider with a mustard and ko choo chung sauce. Chef Pahk feels that mustard is incredibly versatile and blends well with asian ingredients such as hoisin and oyster sauces and chili pastes. Interestingly, he doesn’t use chinese hot mustard or wasabi for most of his asian dishes, but dijon for depth and complexity, and like pommery whole grain ones for slaw and salads.
Local chef and cooking instructor Hugh Carpenter likes to use mustard as a marinade on meats with his favorite preparation using dijon, hoisin sauce, four cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of asian chili sauce. It’s thick and sticks to the meat!