"Almost anything is edible with a dab of French mustard on it."
—Nigel Slater, The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater
Autumn and mustard are a natural pairing. Mustard has an affinity for honey, apple cider vinegar, cream, garlic, shallots, and herbs. And, of course, mustard also complements cold cuts, cured meats, cheeses, salad dressings, and vegetable-based dishes. What would Oktoberfest be without beer, sausages, potatoes, sauerkraut and mustard?
In my wanderings over the last month I have encountered wonderful dishes prepared with mustard that I've wanted to recreate at home. At Proper, a restaurant located in downtown Tucson that focuses on farm-to-table American fare, I enjoyed a leisurely dinner with my family when my sister, Juliette was visiting the "big city" (or at least that's what Tucson seems like when you live in a tiny town like Bisbee). For my entree I ordered Top Knot Farms Chicken Breast with Serrano Ham, plus Dijon Emulsion, Summer Squash and Snap Peas. The Dijon sauce made the dish.
I recently traveled to Northern California so that Linda and I could jointly photograph our first wedding. The rehearsal dinner was scheduled late on a Friday afternoon and the wedding took place on Sunday afternoon, which left Saturday open to pursue a fun activity in wine country. Mark, cook extraordinaire and occasional Salvation Sisters' blog contributor, scheduled a wine tasting at The Hess Collection in Napa Valley that included a personal guided tour, a viewing of the prized contemporary art collection and a private lunch prepared by Chef Chad Hendrickson. Everything about our time at Hess was exceptional, and we'll have an upcoming post of our time at the winery. The whole grain mustard sauce served with the halibut steak was a surprise pairing and was absolutely delicious.
If you open my refrigerator and take a peak inside you will note the various containers of sauces stashed on the shelves. I have thankfully discovered over the years that many sauces can be made ahead and improve in flavor when stored for a day or two in the refrigerator. Some key ingredients for sauces, such as demi-glacé, freeze well and are easily portioned in ice cube trays. Use a cube or two in Diane Sauce for steaks or Mushroom Sauce and transform everyday dining into a special occasion meal. I think you'll agree with me that a well received dish is often attributed to a well executed sauce. Here then, to celebrate the loveliness of mustard, is a Dijon emulsion that sublimely dresses vegetables, or just about anything else you can imagine, including a sandwich. My mouth waters at the thought!
Crispy Chicken with Lemon Caper Dijonaise
At Proper, the chef serves the chicken breast and Serrano ham on a bed of summer squash and snap peas tossed with "Dijon Emulsion". I also think it would be fun to spiralize yellow beets into long curling strands, which can be quickly pan fried in a little olive oil and then tossed with the Dijonaise sauce.
2 egg yolks
2 tsps Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
dash white pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup avocado oil
Combine all the ingredients together in a tall narrowish vessel, such as a French working jar and blitz with a stick blender until emulsified, about 10 to 15 seconds. Then add:
3 Tbsps Dijon
2 Tbsps honey
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add the above items to the mixed sauce and blend once again. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to a day.
|Chicken breasts take a short five minute rest in the oven so the ham warms and Parmesan melts.
Prepare Boneless and Breaded Chicken Breasts
You can prep the chicken breasts ahead of time, by pounding each breast flat with a mallet. Store chicken covered in the fridge.
The original recipe calls for ice cold chicken to be dipped in a blended combination of 1 pint plain yogurt + 1/2 cup honey + 3 tablespoons Dijon Mustard. The chicken is then coated with a combination of blended unsweetened cornflakes (or, gluten-free cornflakes) and sliced blanched almonds (3 to 1 cornflakes to almond mixture, whirled in a food processor).
I find that my recipe for Boneless and Breaded Chicken Breasts is much easier to prepare and yet tastes similar because the "flour" coating calls for Pamela's™ Baking and Pancake Mix (Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free), which has ground almonds in the ingredients list. The almonds brown beautifully when pan fried.
|With a paring knife gently remove the strings from the seams of the snap peas.
The Spiralizer makes short work of slicing the squash into long pappardelle-like ribbons.
summer squash, sliced thinly on a Spiralizer or mandolin
ribbons of carrots
yellow beats, peeled and sliced with a Spiralizer
Sauté vegetables in a little olive oil in the same pan you used to fry the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with a little salt to help the vegetables release juices. To serve, toss cooked vegetables with Dijonaise Sauce. The sauce will thin a bit with the moisture the vegetables release (which is a good thing). Divide vegetables between plates. Top with pan friend chicken breast. Garnish with Serrano ham, capers, and minced parsley.