March 2011





When Italians speak of mostarda, they mean not French’s or Grey Poupon but rather Casa Forcello Mostarda Mantovana di Pere. The pear “mustard” from Mantua in northern Italy combines candied fruit in syrup with sinus-awakening mustard oil.

Though it comes in several fruit flavors, chef Nancy Silverton says, “I love this pear-based mostarda because the pungent mustard component is more aggressive here than in other versions. Also, the sliced pear in Casa Forcello’s preparation retains much of the crispness you find in fresh fruit, which lends a welcome textural element to the mix.”

For Silverton, the contrast of the mustard essence with the sweetness and crunch of the fruit makes it a great partner for strongly flavored roasted and grilled meats, like pork loin, leg of lamb and game birds. At Osteria Mozza, she serves it with Duck al Mattone (“duck under a brick”) to counter the richness of the meat. It’s also a brilliant companion to cheese, especially nutty, buttery aged cheddars such as the Fiscalini Vintage Bandage-wrapped from Modesto. Simply nestle a spoonful of mostarda alongside a savory meat or cheese for a burst of complexity and a taste of the unexpected.

Food Stylist: Christine Wolheim