When my son was a little over a year old, we felt spontaneous one Thursday night and decided to drive to Los Angeles sausage and beer spot Wurstküche for dinner. It’s relatively family-friendly as far as bars go, with an outdoor patio, a few seating enclaves, and high-chairs stacked in the corner. When we arrived just after 5 p.m., we weren’t the only ones with the same idea—the only patrons dotting the dining room had strollers in tow.
After ordering our sausages we headed to a table where our son proceeded to tell us he didn’t want to sit in a high chair. Or on one of our laps. We kept him entertained with Goldfish crackers and raisins until our meal arrived, but we ate in a hurry and even left a few french fries in their basket before rushing back to the car, wondering when we’d ever be able to calmly enjoy a restaurant again. (I’m happy to report we can!) We may not have finished our dinner that night, but I arrived home with a craving to make my own mustard so we could recreate the meal anytime.
The recipe isn’t elaborate—tasty sausages, sweet, grilled red onions and peppers nestled into buttery buns, plus a squirt of mustard. But the mustard matters, and a homemade batch will change everything. It’s worth noting, however, this recipe will not win any beauty contests. The mustard falls square into the beige color palette, although a combination of yellow and brown mustard seeds will add a bit more dimension, if that’s important to you. It’s also strong. I made it two ways: first with cold water, which was shockingly harsh, and then with warm water, which is recommended for a softer flavor. It’s still bold with a kick that sneaks up on you, but a swirl of honey tones it down to just the right heat level. It’s just right for sausages, spreading on tartines with cheddar and apples, or mixing with mayo for a sandwich spread.
Sausages with Peppers, Onions and Grainy Honey Mustard
- 4 Italian sausages
- 1 large red pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
- 4 brioche hot dog buns
- Grainy mustard, for serving (recipe follows)
Grainy Honey Mustard
Makes about 1 cup
- ⅓ cup whole mustard seeds
- ⅓ cup mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey, melted
Crush whole mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Don’t turn them completely to powder—you just want the seeds broken open a bit. Add seeds to a glass jar along with the mustard powder and salt. Pour in the water and vinegar and stir; let sit for 10 to 20 minutes. It’ll seem a bit soupy at first and you might think this was all a big mistake. Refrigerate at least 12 hours, then check on it the next day. The mustard should be much thicker, almost too thick, which is where the melted honey comes in. Pour honey into the jar and stir it up for a perfectly spreadable consistency.