First I read about Montana Girl Mustard on this little local start-up’s website. Then I met Kelly and Don Smiley, the couple behind the company, and tasted their product. My first encounter involved sticking a finger in the jar, and I was not disappointed. This was followed by more conventional applications. It did wonders for a turkey sandwich and definitely gave a lift to a standard grilled cheese. Branching out, I slathered on lamb chops while searing in a cast iron skillet. Now I’m hooked.
It’s thick like apple butter, a lovely golden color instead of the usual neon yellow or drab brown, with a rich flavor that strikes a balance between sweet and what Kelly calls “kick.” I’d say there’s a nice bit of buzz but no bite.
The name honors Kelly’s home state. The recipe comes from her aunt. “She used to make it a few times a year,” says Kelly, “whenever the family got together. Everybody loved it.” It was her husband Don who suggested she turn it into a business. They tested consumer response at Rudy’s Quality Meats, a butcher shop in Willowick near their home. “We gave out free samples,” he recalls, “and sold 12 jars in an hour. We did it again and the same thing happened.”
Now they stir it up in 20-gallon batches at the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen. The ingredients are few and simple, mainly apple cider vinegar and a “flour” made from a specific- and secret- type of mustard seed. The cooking method is also something they’re not revealing. But the result is a versatile condiment that’s good for dipping, spreading and marinating. Kelly recommends adding to cole slaw and deviled eggs.
I tossed potatoes in Montana Girl mustard instead of my usual brand before roasting and the results were outstanding.
In a large bowl, combine a couple tablespoons mustard and same amount of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss 2 pounds of small red potatoes, cut in half, in the mixture and coat well. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in a preheated 425-degree oven until golden brown and fork tender, around 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Consume sensibly. But don’t feel bad if you eat more than you should.