Clevelanders have a historical love affair with mustard — our obsession with the brown condiment dates back to the 1930s. Squabbles are still breaking out today over which brand is better, Stadium or Bertman Ballpark.
“When I was a kid, even now I can remember watching Browns games with my grandfather, smelling the grill and just seeing that brown mustard out, not even questioning why it’s not bright yellow,” says Hunter Toth, owner and chef at Hook and Hoof. “Mustard is just as much a part of Cleveland as the stadiums, the teams and the families.”
Even asking Toth which brand he prefers — Stadium or Bertman Ballpark — causes the chef to go back and forth. “It’s going to get me crucified, but in my refrigerator as we speak is Stadium, which is what my wife picked up,” he says. “I still like it, but I am prone to the latter. I think that’s because my family is very Irish and German, and that was one of the first ones I had. Stadium was always good, but, you know, it’s one of those first things you have that you really can’t turn your back on. People really judge you on your mustard.”
While we always pair mustard (we’re partial to either kind) with bratwurst, chefs like Toth are envisioning new ways to utilize the iconic mustard in their kitchen. Celebrate everyone’s favorite condiment on Aug. 1 — National Mustard Day — with a few must-make unique mustard recipes.
Mustard aioli with potatoes
One way to add a flash of elegance to mustard is by making this chef’s favorite, stone ground mustard aioli. This Mediterranean sauce is traditionally made with garlic, salt and oil, but adding mustard to these flavors can transform a dish. “It’s really easy to make and especially in the summer, when you’re grilling out a lot,” Toth says. “I take the grilled potatoes and toss them with the aioli. It gets this crispy, charred sweet mustard on the potatoes to really accent their tastes.”
Blackberries and mustard jam
Toth likes mixing things up when he’s in the kitchen. For this jam he transforms mustard into a multi-layer spread, rather than as a one-note condiment. “You can make jams or chutneys with blackberries and mix it with mustard using a little hand blender,” he says. The next time the family is in town, serve your mustard and blackberry jam on top of toast, crackers or sliced mini croissants. “Then you can serve [them] on a homemade charcuterie board,” Toth says. “All your guests will think you’re pretty talented in the kitchen if you serve it on that.”
Pickled mustard seed salad dressing
If you want more tang than you’re getting from Cleveland’s brown mustard, then this recipe is for you. Toth ups the ante with mustard in this dish by pickling his own mustard seeds to create a flavor-packed dressing that brings balance to boring greens. “When you’re pickling mustard seeds, you’re basically starting a homemade mustard, so you’re getting the tang of the mustard seed itself,” he says. “It goes really well with especially strong leaves like arugula.”