Dario Cecchini Mostarda Mediterranea Jelly
While classic mostarda is a sweet-savory condiment made from fruit preserved in a mustard-flavored syrup, this Mostarda Mediterranea is instead a sweet, delicately spicy and perfectly balanced jelly. It has a vibrant, fresh quality from its base of red bell peppers, whose fruity notes are brought out by the addition of tart red wine vinegar and sugar. There is also a light piquancy from chili peppers that kicks in toward the end and creates a warmer, deeper finish. On top of its complex taste, we also love the honey-like consistency of Mostarda Mediterranea relative to other jellies, with pureed peppers creating an even product that is perfect for both spreading and dipping. Italy's legendary butcher Dario Cecchini (of “Chef's Table” fame) usually advocates minimal seasoning for meat—so it's saying something that Mostarda Mediterranea is one of the few condiments he sells in his butcher shop. We consider this red pepper jelly an absolute essential on charcuterie boards for a bit of spicy sweetness to balance out salty cured meats. We especially like it drizzled over soft cheeses with crusty bread, whether you choose to pair it with funky soft-ripened Brie or mild fresh ricotta. Or serve with roasted meats or steaks and even rich seafoods; its bright tang almost resembles Asian sweet chili sauce when used as a glaze for pork chops or salmon. Blend with softened butter to melt over roasted meat or toss with roasted vegetables. Or use some of this sweet pepper spread on your next burger, or layer it into grilled cheese sandwiches or BLT. It’ll galvanize avocado toast or a breakfast fried egg sandwich. We even love it spooned into quesadillas—with or without a layer of creamy black beans. Or try a spoonful to basic vinaigrettes—it’ll transform the blandest tomato and reinvent a Caprese salad.