From the local bistro to the interstate roadhouse to the highest echelon of fine dining, steak is beloved by so many that it has a place at just about every table. Because of its range and versatility, almost every culture has a favorite steak preparation. However, some purists remain committed to the idea that the best steak is the simplest, or perhaps only needs a little sea salt and herb butter. And while we tend to agree that some (perfectly cooked) steaks don't need anything at all, it remains true that many sauces taste incredible alongside your favorite grilled cut.
But for a crave-worthy spin that reliably delivers both complexity and zing and never gets old, reach for a mustard sauce. Not only will this condiment bring a big, bold, spicy flavor, but it's functional, too. Vinegar, a common ingredient in most kinds of mustard, provides a punchy counterpoint for the rich, dark, smoky, and savory flavors of charred or seared steak. Plus, its acid also tenderizes the meat and even spotlights an oft-overlooked sweet quality that steak can develop.
Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling
Mustard's Roots And Many Forms
The word mustard probably brings to mind a type of stop-light yellow, squeezable condiment served at concession stands with hot dogs and ketchup at baseball games. But the truth is, mustard is made from seeds of the mustard plant (a cousin of broccoli and cauliflower in the Brassicaceae family), and its many uses go much farther afield.
To enjoy their inherently spicy flavor, the seeds of the mustard plant are cracked or ground to release the oil within. Usually, those seeds are then combined with a liquid, which is often vinegar. That's when it becomes a condiment closer to what we're accustomed to seeing on our grocery store shelves. The variations we find most often reflect the degree to which the seeds have been pulverized -- either a smooth and spreadable consistency or something a bit more rustic, like whole-grain mustard. But varieties can run the gambit from English and German, honey or Dijon, beer or spicy brown, and you can even cook with the seeds alone, their powder, or oil.
Regardless of variety, the popularity of mustard in so many cuisines reflects the widespread appeal of those tiny, unassuming seeds and their accompanying kick. The zingy, acidic flavor is a perfect complement to a well-cooked (not well-done) steak.
Bringing Your Steak And Mustard Sauce To The Plate
Part of the fun of having a beautiful piece of beef is that you can get creative and find your favorite ways to elevate and honor that particular cut. The sauce itself can vary -- you can go for a sweeter spin with a classic honey mustard, or a creamy version, in which sour cream or mayo adds a balancing coolness to the dish. You can even spike the sauce before slathering, and make a steak with brandy and mustard sauce.
When combined with Boston lettuce, blue cheese, pecans, and mushrooms, a mustard dressing helps pull together a delicious steak salad. Or, convert your steak into a handheld with mustard sauce steak tacos along with juicy tomatoes and smooth avocado, or a satisfying steak sandwich, with mustard and mayonnaise sauce and peppery greens like arugula. And next time you're entertaining, serve steak bite skewers with a mustard soy dipping sauce. Whether steak night is a gathering of friends and family or a party of one, there are so many ways to celebrate this zesty steak pairing.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.