Mostarda di Frutta, which translates as spicy mustard and fruit chutney or relish, is not really a mustard as we know it, although it can contain mustard and/or mustard oil. It is often used to spice up bland or boiled meats, though once you try it, you’ll find, as I did, many foods to serve it with. It is made mosty of fruit, dried usually, though, as in this recipe, fresh fruits can also be used. The cooking time can be short or long. I think, like so many regional recipes, that there are as many recipes for mostarda as there are cooks.

2 – 3 pears or apples or quinces or asian pears, or a combination
2  c dried fruit, preferably a combination–raisins, apricots, figs, prunes, goji berries…
2 c water, plus extra if needed
3/4  c dry red or white wine
4 T honey, agave or other sweetener
1 T dry mustard or 3 T prepared mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Peel, core, and chop fresh fruit. Chop any large dried fruit, if you like. Put all ingredients except salt and pepper in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the fruit is very soft, anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours. You’ll need to stir to prevent sticking on the bottom.

2. When you’re satisfied with the tenderness of the fruits and the taste of the mostarda, remove from heat and let cool.

3. If you like the texture of the mostarda, then season with some salt and pepper and transfer to a lidded bowl or jar and refrigerate, but allow to sit for about 8 hours before serving. Otherwise, put the pot in the fridge for about 8 hours, then remove and purée some or all of the mostarda in a food processor, adding some water if the mostarda is really thick. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl or jar and refrigerate. Serve cold or, better, brought out of the fridge half an hour or so before using.