Winter in California brings citrus – lemons, oranges, tangerines and limes. This year, I am fortunate to have friends with bountiful backyards and citrus farms that have gifted me with some gorgeous lemons. So, today I shall make mostarda – which is essentially candied fruit with essence of mustard (which a friend brought me from Italy). In the summer you can use ripe cherries, pears and apricots. A bit time consuming but well worth the effort.
I first learned about mostarda from an Italian friend and later found it in the book by Domenica Marchetti Preserving Italy. Her pear mostarda recipe (which is essentially the same for other fruits) and tidbits on understanding essence of mustard is featured by The Splendid Table. Mostarda is really delightful to serve with appetizers and complementary to meats and can certainly be popped directly into your mouth when no one is watching. Enjoy!