For everyone that celebrated Easter this past weekend, I hope you had a great time! I hosted again this year (and gave a little run-down of the menu on Saturday), and we had a blast. Good friends + good food + many emptied bottles of champagne = best. easter. ever.
While I was extremely happy with the way all the dishes turned out (despite the fact that we ate about an hour later than I intended), the stars in my eyes were two very simple things that I prepared the night before. So much so that I actually remade both so I could tell you all about them. We’ll talk about the other next week. (I’m super psyched for that, as I think I actually managed to improve it the second time around with the slightest of tweaks. Also, it involves booze. Huzzah.) But right now, we’re going to talk about my new favorite condiment: pickled mustard seeds.
I first had pickled mustard seeds a little over a year ago at one of my favorite restaurants in town. They were tangy, a little sweet, and consistently delivered that awesome crunch that has me choosing coarse grain mustard over the smooth stuff any day of the week. I’d considered figuring out how to make them at home, but never quite got around to looking up a recipe. But when Easter planning began, I started dreaming of making an asparagus galette. I wanted asparagus and ricotta and parmesan, but I also wanted a little bit of a tang. Greek yoghurt came into play, but I wanted to add a little bit of additional texture as well. And that’s when it hit me: this was the excuse to finally make pickled mustard seeds.
In my Saturday afternoon scramble at the store, I instructed E to grab some mustard seeds from the bulk section. “How much do you need?” he asked. “Oh, just a quarter of a cup or so is fine,” I said, thinking only about how much I would actually need for Sunday. I cooked them up Saturday evening, and was immediately sorry that I didn’t buy ten times that. I polished the remainder off less than 24 hours after Easter, mostly by piling them on bread with leftover whipped feta. After eating almost half a baguette on Monday, I considered it might be a good idea for me to find another way to consume these things, because I was definitely making them again ASAP. And that’s when I started thinking about this dish.
And as if one addiction weren’t enough, I now have another: sriracha-roasted chickpeas. Now, I am that person who will take a cold container of leftover chickpeas from the fridge, cover them in an ungodly amount of salt, then eat them like popcorn. So, it clearly doesn’t take much to please me when it comes to garbanzos. However, taking an extra 15 minutes to toss them with olive oil, sriracha, and kosher salt, then throw them in a 450° oven makes them AMAZING. Salty, spicy, and just a little bit crunchy on the outside.
This little dish wound up being pretty much everything I dreamed. In addition to the aforementioned ingredients (since including everything in the post title seemed a bit excessive), there’s a healthy squeeze of lemon juice and a few dollops of Greek yoghurt (not pictured in the dish here, as it kind of just makes everything look like a bit of a mess, ya know). The only thing that I think could have perhaps improved this was a little bit of cilantro, which I would have added had the bunch in my fridge not clearly crossed the questionable point. And while I’m still quite the onion hater, I think little bit of minced red onion might complement the other flavors nicely, if you don’t find them as vile as I do. But anyway — make this. Make lots of pickled mustard seeds and lots of sriracha-roasted chickpeas, and feast for days.
Pickled Mustard Seeds
- 1 cup of mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 1/2 cups of rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of salt
Combine the mustard seeds, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring often, for around 45 minutes, until the mustard seeds are plump and tender. Remove from heat and let cool, then transfer to a container and refrigerate. (They can be used right away, but they get even better after they’ve had a chance to sit in the fridge overnight.) Keep for several months.
Sriracha-Roasted Chickpeas & Cauliflower with Pickled Mustard Seeds
yield: serves 2 as a small dish
- 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- a spoonful or two of sriracha (depending on your heat preference)
- a pinch of two of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss chickpeas with oil, sriracha, and salt until evenly coated. Spread on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking. Remove from oven and let cool.
- half of a small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- a few pinches of kosher salt
- a little bit of freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss cauliflower with oil, salt, pepper, then roast for around 30 minutes, or until cauliflower are beginning to brown and some of the thinner edges are starting to crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Combine cauliflower and chickpeas in a bowl or on a plate. Add a few spoonfuls of pickled mustard seeds, a squeeze of lemon, and a dollop or two of Greek yoghurt to each bowl, then gently toss to distribute.