Amuse-bouche and an Italian Compote

I love cooking classes.   If you have never been, I highly recommend that you sign up yourself and your significant other or best friend.    I have learned so much from each and every class we have attended.    Here are some things to expect.

Our experience with cooking classes has not been at CIA satellites or formal culinary schools.   They have been at wineries, restaurants, and cooking supply stores.   Seek out these places and sign up!

Don’t think you will get your hands dirty.  Most classes that we have attended have not been hands on.   But, that is fine.   We have gotten to see some very fine chefs work their culinary magic.   (Most are entertaining as well!)

Be prepared for some obnoxiousness.   There is always one—always one guest who has traveled to Italy or Spain or France (or whatever region is being highlighted), has the exact same immersion circulator at home that the chef is using, or is an expert on every wine pairing.    (More about an obnoxious trio from this  adventure later.)

Do expect some fantastic food with LOTS of good advice, information, and tips.

(This is the second post in a series chronicling our cooking class with Chef Marcus Vause of Tavolo.)

Our evening started with an amuse-bouche of a crosotini with chicken liver mousse and cherry mostarda.

Crostini with chicken liver mousse and cherry mostarda

Crostini with chicken liver mousse and cherry mostarda

I am pretty scared of liver (which harkens back to the days of mom cooking HUGE beef livers with onions.)    But, this class was all about adventurous eating (remember, octopus was on the menu), so I grabbed this little bit of chicken liver mousse and popped it in my mouth.   I wish I would have savored the moment more.   It was divine!

According to Chef Marcus, mostarda is a fruity condiment made of fruit, reduced vinegar, red wine, and mustard.    He actually used mustard seeds in his dish.       Apparently making it is a multi-day process.

Unfortunately, Chef Marcus did not share this recipe with us, but I was so intrigued with his mostarda that I decided to seek out a recipe.    I found one at Food & Wine for a dried cherry-apricot version, but I wanted mine to be more rich and berryful.  🙂   Of course, I tweaked and adapted it and used what I had on hand.


My version is not as pretty and as Chef Marcus’.

Triple Berry Mostarda
Adapted from Grace Parisi’s Dried Apricot and Cherry Mostarda

1 c. frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. dried blueberries
1 t. dried shallots
1/2 c.  red wine
3 T.  red wine vinegar
2 T.  honey
1 t. brown mustard seeds, crushed
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries, cranberries, and blueberries, shallots, wine, vinegar, and honey and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.   Stir in  mustard seeds, Dijon mustard,  and butter.   Simmer until the mostarda is jammy, 30-40  minutes longer.  Serve the mostarda warm or at room temperature.

I am ready to pair this with a cheese plate, pork loin,  roasted chicken or on a goat cheese crostini.   (If I get really crazy, maybe I will make chicken liver mousse.)

Thanks to Chef Marcus for the inspiration to try making a mostarda.

Stay tuned for the next recipe:   Charred Octopus.   (No, really.)

15 comments to Amuse-bouche and an Italian Compote

  • I made a fig mostarda once, and it was so good I ate it on everything. I cannot wait to make this version!

  • What a wonderful paste my friend 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  • This is right up my alley! I love making this sort of thing. Let me ask you a question, when you crush the mustard seed – I have my grandfather’s mortar and pestle so I assume that’s how you crush them but do you just give it a little breakage or really get in there and pulverize it? I bought some mustard seed recently, I must have known you were going to give me this recipe, but once I got it home I had no idea exactly what to do with it!

  • So I guess they just soften up? Sorry, I know I sound stupid but I just don’t ever remember having them in anything except maybe grainy mustard. I’m really going to try this soon – dried cranberries are one of my favorites because they get so sweet when dried. And I already love chicken liver mousse!

    • Yes, I think they soften up some. (I am thinking of pickled stuff now.) I think this would be great with dried cherries, too. So, I am feeling culinarily adventurous—-do you have a chicken liver mousse recipe since Chef didn’t share???

  • I just happen to have one! I got it from The Broker in Denver when I lived there. My boyfriend at the time loved their shrimp and liver mousse apps. Not together mind you but he loved them both! I will dig it up – I’ve been wanting to find the particular recipe book I put that in anyway. I can’t wait to find it – I’ll share right away as soon as I find it!

  • What a rich and delicious berry paste! Yes, I would go with a cheese plate.

  • Both of these look delicious and the combination sounds quite interesting. I love a good liver mousse and never would have even considered pairing it with a fruity topping. Thanks for sharing this. I find it interesting that chef at your cooking class didn’t share something that he made. Any way to sneak a bite? 🙂

    • Oh, yes, he shared everything tasty. We just didn’t get the recipe for the mousse or his mostarda. He shared most of the other recipes (lots more to come here) with us.

  • […] the Amuse-bouche post of our cooking class chronicle with Chef Marcus of Tavolo, I referenced obnoxious classmates.  I […]