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Author Notes: There must be as many recipes for roasted red peppers as there are cooks but that's okay because this is not about the red pepper, roasted, charred or otherwise. This is about the mustard. Okay, kind of silly I know, but typically mustard is the dance partner, not the lead. In this humble sauce though, mustard can both lead and follow. It can be assertive, or gentle but is rhythmic, if not tame. The red pepper will follow mustard's lead or give up a twirl of it's own without stealing the show. They can do the tango if you like it caliente, or the waltz if you prefer a little more cream. Bottom line is, this sauce is a workhorse that can do the job better than many. Since a sauce, by nature, always has a leading lady, I wanted to pair it with a real star (unadorned) to show that, as in life, there is always room for more than one star in the show.
There are as many uses for this mustard (sauce) as there are ideas. I like it best with fresh tuna, grilled sausage or to dress white beans. It is good with each of these separately, but all actors combined and you have a real show. It goes well with crab cakes, roast pork and grilled prawns. I'm also thinking fennel, chicken, or a seasoning for soup. Sky's the limit - so think big and give it a whirl.
—10 Legs in the Kitchen
Makes: approximately 1 cup
red bell pepper
tablespoons Dijon mustard
dashes cayenne pepper
tablespoons tap water
1 - 3
tablespoons crème fraîche or olive oil
- Roast the pepper. You can roast the red pepper by any method by which you are accustomed. I like to char mine over an open flame until very black and slightly peeling. You should have a good fan so as not to disturb the occupants of the house. When the weather is agreeable, outside on the grill works too. When the pepper resembles a charred shell, put it into a paper bag and let sweat for a good 10 minutes or for as long as you might need. Before using, remove from the bag, peel away the burnt skin and tear it into half. Remove the seeds and stem, tossing away for compost. I sometimes cut off a few slivers of the meat to put in a salad or omelette before giving the rest up for sauce (I did go to the trouble of charring this and upsetting the nose of my dogs and husband you know?).
- In the bowl of a food processor, place the meat of the red pepper along with the mustard, a few shakes cayenne and 1 TB water. Process until smooth adding more water if needed. Add the crème fraîche or olive oil, starting small and adding more to your taste. If you feel spicy, add more cayenne; to mellow, add more crème. That's it; pretty simple yet the taste is complex.
- As one suggestion for use (as pictured): Place small spoonful of sauce in a line on a cold plate. Using a sharp knife, slice sashimi grade ahi tuna across the grain into thin slices; squeeze a little lemon juice over. Lay these neatly next to the sauce and crumble some course sea salt, sparingly over the fish. Julienne a few leaves of fresh basil; line the basil up next to the tuna.