Pickled Mustard Seeds with Smoked Trout and Crème Fraîche Toasts

Pickled mustard seeds swell and soften as as they cook, popping like peppery caviar when eaten. They enhance a variety of savoury foods, from fish and chicken to cheese sandwiches

Makes 1 small jar; trout toasts serve 4 as a light lunch

For the pickled mustard seeds:
200g yellow mustard seeds 350ml cider vinegar, plus extra to taste 3 tbsp golden caster sugar 1 tsp sea-salt flakes 2 tsp ground turmeric 1 heaped tsp finely grated fresh ginger

For the trout toasts:
100g crème fraîche 1 tsp Dijon mustard, or to taste Salt and pepper 4 slices rustic bread, toasted and halved 250g hot-smoked trout fillets, flaked 2 tbsp mustard cress leaves, snipped

Step 1) To make the pickled mustard, rinse the mustard seeds in a sieve. Shake well to drain and cover with the vinegar in a non-metallic mixing bowl. Set aside in a cool place (not the fridge) and leave for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.

Step 2) Stir in the sugar, salt and turmeric and squeeze the grated ginger over to release the juices, then discard the ginger pulp. Put the mixture in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes as the mixture simmers and thickens. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. Taste and add more vinegar, spoonful by spoonful, until the mixture has a good, balanced vinegary tang. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 6 months, adding a little extra vinegar
if the mixture becomes too thick.

Step 3) For the toasts, stir the crème fraîche and Dijon mustard together, seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon a little of this mixture onto each piece of toast, with a pile of smoked trout, half a teaspoon of pickled mustard seeds and a scattering of cress. Perfect with salad as a light lunch.

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