If you want to give your burger a sharp and tangy bite, classic mustard is the way to go. But for something outside the typical French's Yellow or Grey Poupon Dijon, I found Whole Grained Mustard with Chilis & Garlic (8-ounce jar, $3) from the Napa Valley Mustard Co. (a division of Beaverton Foods, makers of the popular Inglehoffer and Beaver Brand mustards).
California's Napa Valley is well-known for its top-tier wines and gourmet restaurants. Inspired by the bounty of wine country, the Whole Grained Mustard is loaded with wine flavors. It's made with both red and white wine vinegars, white and Burgundy wines, and cooking sherry. That's a lot of booze per serving—it definitely comes through in the mustard's aroma and flavor. Besides that, the mustard has garlic, green chili peppers, and ground horseradish, which add a moderate level of spiciness and sharpness to the mix. The spiciness level is mild enough for sensitive palates, but adds enough kick to please hot sauce junkies.
I first tried the mustard on homemade quarter-pound burgers seasoned with salt and pepper and then added Heinz ketchup and a dollop of mayo. I was afraid the spiciness and wine flavors would overshadow the burger, but they ended up complementing the beef well. Because of the mustard's strong flavors, it works best in combination with other condiments like ketchup and mayo. And because the mustard is whole grain, it offers a slight crunch, providing a pleasant textural contrast to the softness of the meat and bun.
The mustard would also work well as a spread for steak or smoked turkey sandwiches and as an ingredient in marinades and salad dressings, but would overpower mild flavors like plain turkey or chicken.
For those of you addicted to spicy foods, like I am, this mustard is a great choice for adding zip to a burger or other hearty dish without overpowering the main ingredient.
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