Alma Brothers, my mother's mother, was famous on Swan Lake in Jackson, Mississippi, for her spicy, sweet mustard. She'd make a big batch every Christmas, and people in the town would call and beg to be on her holiday list. When I was a girl, I thought her mustard was way too strong--but Alma didn't make it with children in mind. Now that my tastes are more sophisticated, I love this sweet-hot blend. Its flavor has more clarity than the store-bought mustards you're accustomed to. I used her recipe as the base for my fruited mustard, making it richer with rosemary browned butter and fresher tasting with the addition of tart, dried cherries. My mom and I bring out Alma's mustard every holiday, which makes me feel at every gathering that Alma's spirit carries on.
2 Pound Unsalted Butter (8 sticks) 2 Bay Leaves (chopped) 1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary (chopped) 1 Cup Dried Cherries (chopped) Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste) 1 Cup Alma's Sweet-Hot Mustard (see "Alma's Sweet-Hot Mustard") 2 Cup Dijon Mustard 4 Loin Lamb Chops (each about 1 inch thick) Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (for brushing) Kosher Salt (to taste) Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
1. Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill.
2. To make the fruited mustard, in a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until it reaches a caramel color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, dried cherries, and pepper. Mix in the sweet and dijon mustards. Refrigerate while the lamb chops are grilling.
3. Brush each of the chops on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare lamb.
4. Serve immediately with the fruited mustard either beside the lamb or spooned into small ramekins and set on a plate garnished with dried cherries and herbs. (Make sandwiches the next day with any leftover lamb plus a generous slathering of the mustard.)
Budino in Italian means pudding but this is more like a molten cake, moist and almost gooey in the middle when served warm from the oven. I like to serve the budino with a scoop of homemade Banana Chocolate-Chunk Ice Cream (in my cookbook, Cooking From the Hip), but it's also great with creme anglaise and fresh raspberries or strawberries.