Condiments, by nature, are meant to complement and support the flavors of their partners.
Every so often, the roles reverse. Case in point: Marianne Sundquist's grape mostarda at Andersonville's In Fine Spirits. Cured meat, cheese, crackers, spoons, fingers--all become vehicles for transporting the tangy, nutty, sweet concoction in a beeline to the mouth.
Sundquist's culinary ambition is in inverse proportion to the size of her tiny corner kitchen, and her mostarda is a jammy Italian immigrant that's formed a lasting friendship with two flavors of Americana, bourbon and pecans.
Sundquist cooks red and green grapes with sugar and mustard seeds until the pectin-rich fruit bursts and begins to gel. Once cooled, she adds pecans, fresh herbs, mustard and a glug of bourbon for another layer of flavor "because I had a bottle of our house bourbon close by."
Make it at home (click here to see the recipe) to serve with cured meats or cheeses, or to slather on sandwiches, perhaps made with leftovers from the year's final nights of grilling.
Or head to Andersonville, where house-made honeyed ricotta, pastrami-cured salmon, Fra'mani salami and aged Wisconsin cheddar play fine second fiddles on the cheese board.
In Fine Spirits, 5418 N. Clark St.; 773-506-9463 or infinespirits.com
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.