There are three very different types of mostarda found in Italy: mostarda di Venezia, mostarda tout-court and, probably the best known, mostarda di Cremona (on which this recipe is loosely based). This dish is a great accompaniment for roast pork, but one of the most memorable dishes I had on a trip to Florence was a perfectly poached breast of chicken, served room temperature, with mostarda and freshly made mayonnaise. The impossibly soft chicken, the bright sweet and sour flavors of the fruits and the richness of the mayonnaise worked together in a way I will never forget!
Yield: 3 or 4 servings as a side dish
- 1 cup Fuyu persimmon, peeled, seeded and diced
- ½ cup Sultana raisins (coarsely chopped if large)
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup Champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon whole brown mustard seeds
- 1teaspoon whole yellow mustard seeds
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 small bay leaf
Toast the mustard seeds in a dry pan until their aroma is released, then set aside. Cover the raisins with boiling water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.
In a sauté pan, add enough water to coat the bottom and pour in the sugar. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and begins to caramelize. Continue to cook until the sugar is very lightly browned, then remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar. The cooked sugar will immediately seize and harden when the vinegar is added. Return the pan to the heat and keep simmering and all will come together into a perfect syrup.
Add the persimmon, raisins, mustard seeds, bay leaf and thyme and cook gently until the persimmon is just tender. If the persimmons are very ripe, you can just pour the hot syrup over all of the ingredients without cooking them. The fruit will continue to cook as it cools in the syrup, so remove the mixture from the heat a little before the persimmons are fully tender.
The flavors will improve as the mostarda sits, so you should make this a day ahead. Refrigerated, it will keep for a week or more. If it has been refrigerated, allow the mostarda to come to room temperature before serving.