Mustard Adds Something Extra : Seasonings: Reliable condiment can be the secret ingredient in a variety of dishes and sauces.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

For people who love mustard, there is nothing like a hint of it in a favorite dish. From the United States to Italy to China, mustard adds color, texture and pungency to a variety of foods.

A tortelloni dish, for instance, created by Celestino Drago, of Celestino Ristorante in Beverly Hills, owes its distinctive flavor to a pumpkin filling spiked with Italian-style mustard called mostarda di Cremona, or fruit mustard, named after the city where this unique mustard originated.

Cremona mustard dates back to times when Romans mixed the sweet must of new wine with crushed seeds called sinapis. The resulting paste was called mustum ardens (hot must), from which the name mustard derives. Sinapis are added to acidic fruit, such as crab apples, after they have been tenderized in a sweet-sour sauce or brine. You can purchase mostarda di Cremona , at most Italian grocery stores.

Dijon mustard is the base for many classic French dishes, including chicken with Dijon sauce. Dijon mustard is traditional, but you can vary the flavor by experimenting with other mustards.

Honey mustard dressing has been a favorite of club luncheons where fruit salad is the star of the menu. The recipe for the honey mustard from the Los Angeles Proud Bird restaurant uses plain American hot dog mustard such as French's.

The Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York has been serving deviled beef ribs for close to a century with enormous success; this is very likely due to the mustard sauce that goes with it.

There is nothing like a mustard dill sauce to make fish more appealing. The recipe given here is from Scandia restaurant, which used to serve it with gravad lax cured with dill.

At Santa Anita, chef Tony Pope prepares a corned beef baked with a mustard glaze and jelly. It's been a favorite of the racing crowd for years.

The French remoulade brought to New Orleans is punctuated by a hint of mustard. It's a great dip for shellfish, especially shrimp, or any cold fish.

CELESTINO'S PUMPKIN TORTELLONI

1 (3-pound) pumpkin, or squash

2 tablespoons amaretto cookie crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon mostarda di Cremona (Italian fruit mustard)

Dash ground nutmeg

2 eggs

2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs

Salt

Pasta Dough

Boiling salted water

Butter-Sage Sauce

Cut pumpkin in half. Remove seeds and scrape stringy portions. Cut into large wedges. Arrange in large baking pan and place in larger pan filled 1/4 way with water. Bake at 350 degrees until pumpkin pulp is tender. Scoop out pulp and mash. Reserve 2 cups pulp.

Combine pulp, amaretto cookie crumbs, Parmesan cheese, mustard, nutmeg, eggs and bread crumbs. Season lightly with salt. Mix well.

Divide dough into 3 parts. Working with 1 part at time, roll dough out on lightly floured board as thinly as possible, about 1/16 inch. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place heaping teaspoon stuffing in center of each square. Fold into triangle, connect opposite points and pinch to seal.

Drop triangles in boiling, salted water. Cook until tortelloni rise to surface. Remove with slotted spoon. Serve with Butter-Sage Sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Pasta Dough

4 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 eggs

1/4 cup lukewarm water

Sift flour onto large board. Make well in center and add salt, eggs and water. Stir with fork to blend eggs and water and gradually work in flour to make stiff dough. Knead few minutes until smooth. Add more flour, if dough is sticky. Cover and let stand 10 minutes while making filling.

Butter-Sage Sauce

1/2 cup butter

3 to 4 sage leaves

Melt butter in skillet. Add sage leaves and saute until sage is browned and crisp.

Note: For cream sauce, add 1 cup whipping cream to butter-sage mixture and cook until reduced by half. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

CHICKEN DIJONNAISE

4 chicken breast halves, boned and skinned

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Crushed rosemary

Crushed thyme

Crushed tarragon

Salt, pepper

Flatten chicken breast halves into cutlets. Saute chicken in 2 tablespoons butter until cooked on both sides. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Add onion and cook until tender. Add wine, mustard and cream and simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat spoon. Strain, then add rosemary, thyme and tarragon to taste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken breasts. Makes 4 servings.

PROUD BIRD HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING

3 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup prepared mustard, preferably French's

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup minced onion

1/4 bunch parsley, chopped

1 cup oil

Combine mayonnaise, sugar, honey, mustard, vinegar, onion and parsley. Blend in oil. Chill about 1 hour before serving. Makes 4 cups.

WALDORF DEVILED BEEF RIBS WITH MUSTARD SAUCE

8 pounds beef ribs (from Prime rib of beef, about 2 racks

Salt, pepper

1/4 cup virgin olive oil, about

1 cup Dijon mustard

2 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs

10 ounces veal or beef stock

1/2 cup Madeira

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons butter

Lightly season ribs with salt and pepper. Place on baking tray and roast at 325 degrees 1 1/2 hours. Allow to cool until easy to handle, about 15 minutes.

Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil and all but 3 tablespoons mustard, blending well. Separate beef into rib sections and lightly coat with mustard mixture. Dredge each piece in bread crumbs and place on baking tray. Sprinkle lightly with more olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown.

Combine stock and Madeira in skillet over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half. Combine cornstarch with water until smooth. Stir into sauce and cook until sauce coats back of spoon. Continue to simmer several minutes to blend flavors over low heat. Add butter and 3 tablespoons reserved mustard. Stir until smooth. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

SCANDIA'S GRAVAD LAX WITH MUSTARD DILL SAUCE

1 (2-pound) piece salmon

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns

1/2 bunch dill

Mustard Dill Sauce

Thaw salmon if frozen. Cut salmon in half lengthwise. Remove fish bones.

Combine salt, sugar and peppercorns. Rub half of spice mixture over 1 salmon half and place fish, skin side down, in baking dish. Spread dill over. Rub other half of salmon with remaining spice mixture and place, skin side up, on first salmon half. Cover with foil.

Place plate on top of fish and put weight on top of plate. Refrigerate 48 hours. Turn fish over every 12 hours, separating fillets slightly to baste with pan liquid. When ready to serve, scrape away dill and seasonings. Place fillets, skin side down, on cutting board. Cut salmon diagonally in thin slices away from skin. Serve cold with Mustard Dill Sauce. Makes 24 servings.

Note: Flesh can be sliced from salmon skin and cut into narrow strips to drop into very hot deep oil to cook until crisp. A piece of crisped skin is served on each plate.

Mustard Dill Sauce

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/3 cup oil

3 tablespoons chopped dill

Combine mustard, sugar, vinegar and dry mustard. Slowly beat in oil until thick. Stir in dill. Chill.

Note: Mustard Dill Sauce may be served as dip for any cold cooked shrimp, crab meat or lobster.

SANTA ANITA CORNED BEEF

1 (5- to 6- pound) corned beef brisket

3 tablespoons pickling spice

Prepared mustard

Mixed fruit jelly

Sesame seeds

Place brisket in boiling water to cover. Add pickling spice and simmer 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until tender. Do not overcook.

Remove brisket from pan and let stand 15 minutes. Place in baking pan and cover surface of beef lightly with prepared mustard. Let stand 10 minutes until mustard penetrates meat. Spread jelly over brisket and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 375 degrees 15 to 20 minutes or until set. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

SAUCE REMOULADE

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon or other French-style mustard

2 tablespoons horseradish

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup oil

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1 tablespoon minced capers

Mix lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, horseradish, parsley, paprika and cayenne. Beat in oil, then add celery, green onions and capers. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

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