April. Budding trees, blooming bulbs, lambs (soon to be leg, of), and warm spring nights. Time to dust off the grill and practice putting those cross-hatch grill marks on your fattest, juiciest burgers.
Serve up your juicy burgers with a tray of sliced sweet onions, sliced avocados, strips of colorful grilled sweet pepper, petit greens, chipotle mayonnaise, sundried tomato catsup, and Viognier-French tarragon mustard.
To get you started, here are my recipes for homemade Sundried Tomato Catsup and Viognier-French Tarragon Mustard.
Sundried tomatoes give this homemade catsup an exotic smoky flavor that’s great with burgers and roast beef sandwiches.
- 1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar or molasses
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup chopped, sundried tomatoes in oil
- 2 tablespoons oil from sundried tomatoes
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted and mashed
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorn
Makes about 1 ½ cups
Roast or sauté the garlic, then mash. Roasted garlic tastes best, but if you’re in a hurry, just sauté it for 5 minutes in one teaspoon olive oil until soft and aromatic. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Immediately lower the heat so that the sauce barely bubbles, and simmer for 1-2 hours, until reduced by about one-third. Allow to cool. Store in a clean jar or plastic container. Keeps for about two weeks, refrigerated.
Viognier - French Tarragon Mustard
Fresh and spicy, with an intriguing hint of licorice
- 1/2 cup brown mustard seed (available from Penzey’s Spices)
- 1/4 cup viognier
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 sprigs fresh tarragon, destemmed and finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cardamom seed, crushed (optional)
Makes about 1 cup
Place the mustard seed, white wine, and chicken broth in a glass bowl, stir until the seeds sink, and refrigerate overnight. The following day crush the mustard seed in a food processor or coffee grinder until well-broken, to a rough mustard consistency. Pulse and then pat down with a spoon, pulse and repeat. The seeds tend to fly around and are too small for most electric processors, so the mustard will still have lots of whole seeds. Add the brown sugar, tarragon, and cardamom seed, and pulse some more. (For a speedier version, you can grind the dry seeds and then add the liquids, but the flavor is richer and the texture more interesting if you take the time to soak the seeds first.) The final mustard will be super-strong and very crunchy. Store in a clean glass jar or plastic container. Keeps for 2 weeks, refrigerated. Use sparingly on sandwiches or as a condiment for meats.