Mustard Powder Can Truly Take Your Tuna Casserole To New Heights

Baked tuna casserole on table
Baked tuna casserole on table - Ezume Images/Shutterstock

Even when it seems like there's nothing left in the cupboards, as long as you have a can of tuna and some pasta you can always make a comforting batch of tuna casserole. The creamy, cozy dish can come together in less than an hour and the only cooking skills you need are the ability to open a tuna can and boil some noodles. There's always room for improvement in any recipe, however, and tuna casserole is no exception. Because it's made with fairly bland ingredients, a basic tuna casserole recipe can taste a little one-note. This is still no reason to run out to the grocery store, however, because all you need to make your tuna mac a little more flavorful is something that's probably sitting in your spice rack right now: Dried mustard powder.

If you've ever added a squirt or spoonful of mustard to tuna salad, you know that the tangy condiment adds acidity and flavor complexity to the fish. Adding dried mustard powder to tuna casserole does the exact same thing. After all, dried mustard powder is just mustard without any liquid ingredients. Because it's dried, mustard powder is perfect for adding a sharp, mustardy flavor when you don't want to add any more liquid, like in a certain soupy casserole.

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What Is Dried Mustard?

Mustard powder in a wooden bowl
Mustard powder in a wooden bowl - darksoul72/Shutterstock

Any well-stocked spice rack should have a jar of dried mustard in the mix. Even though it doesn't get used as much as, say, garlic powder, the gold-colored dust is a versatile flavor to have at your fingertips. Mustard is one of the world's oldest spices, and culinary historians think it dates back more to 3,000 B.C. when it was used for both medicine, as well as cooking, during ancient Greek and Roman times. Mustard seeds are even mentioned in the Bible's New Testament as symbols of faith, so we've been using these little seeds to make food taste good for quite a long time.

Most of us have at least one type of mustard in the fridge, which is all made out of dried mustard powder that's been mixed with a liquid like vinegar. Dijon mustard, for instance, is ground mustard that's been mixed with white wine.

To get the mustard-y goodness of dried mustard powder into your tuna casserole, all you need to do is add a few teaspoons or a tablespoon to the creamy mixture when you're stirring all the ingredients together. The sharp, tangy taste of the mustard powder will cut through the fatty, salty flavors of the dish to give it more complexity.

Mustard Powder Is Versatile

mixing tuna casserole ingredients in dish
mixing tuna casserole ingredients in dish - knelson20/Shutterstock

Dried mustard powder works particularly well with tuna because the tangy taste of the mustard complements the mild, savory flavor of the fish. If you want the extra tang from the ingredients in prepared mustard, like white wine or vinegar, you can also add a dash of whatever acidic ingredient you'd like to your casserole, including lemon juice. The nice thing about mustard powder, however, is that it doesn't have all of the liquid of prepared mustard, so it won't make your casserole too soupy. It's just pure, unadulterated mustard flavor. The best part is that because it doesn't have any moisture, if you store it properly dried mustard powder can last for up to three years. Plus it takes up a lot less space than a bottle of mustard.

Dried mustard powder is also useful for all sorts of other recipes that could use a little mustard flavor without moisture, like dry rubs and spice mixes for fish and other meats. It's a great secret weapon ingredient in any dish that's creamy and salty like tuna casserole, including macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, and chicken salad. In fact, once you start experimenting with it in a casserole you'll see for yourself how much tastier tuna can be, and soon you'll find lots of other recipes where you can use this multipurpose spice.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.