Purple Mustard Chimichurri

It smells like wet dishrags! That is what most people around here will tell you if asked about purple mustard, Chorispora tenella, also known as musk mustard. I'll admit, it does have a particularly strong scent. But it is a scent I adore, because it will always carry me back to riding home on the school bus as a child. Back then, as the heavy days of late spring dropped into summer, the scent of purple mustard would waft through the open windows of the bus. I'd scrunch down into the seat, and let that stinky hot breeze blast my cheeks, and dream of the summer to come.

I also love purple mustard because it sits so squarely, so firmly, in the category of weed. It gives me extra satisfaction to relish the taste of something so often reviled. After all, aren't we a culture that loves a good underdog?

I've excitedly given a leaf of purple mustard to two different friends to eat. Each has had the same reaction, it tastes like mushrooms. How's that for underdog style? This humble weed has surprisingly meaty little leaves with distinct undertones of mushroom.

Perhaps, lowly purple mustard just needs a slick makeover, some re-branding. Think of the resurgence of your grandma's prunes now that they have been marketed as dried plums.

If you'd like to find some purple mustard of your own, you may want to start by sniffing around for its scent, which does carry well on the air. Purple mustard can also be identified by its classic four-petaled mustard flower, long and jagged leaves, or by its tiny banana-shaped seed pods.

Purple Mustard Chimichurri

1/2 c. finely minced purple mustard leaves
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 cloves roasted garlic, smashed into a paste
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, ground
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Stir all of the ingredients together. Serve at room temperature over steak or grilled veggies. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for two days.


  1. great post butter- it's good to see this so long unknown plant coming into it's own right...i had a friend once who swore up and down he was smelling a dirty dish rag, we were outside fixing bicycles, and he kept going into th' kitchen looking for dirty rags, when all along there was a field of mustard on the other side of th' fence, i just kept laughing and laughing, tried to tell him it was a flower, but he was convinced it was a wet rag.....

  2. Rico - How do you use purple mustard? I know I've seen you use it for salad, do you ever use it any other way? Cook with it? Do you also think it has a slight mushroomy goodness?

  3. sauteed with butter... in casseroles, quiche, steamed with dock greens and served with apple cider or red wine vinegar and olive oil, seperate th' flowers from th' greens for two distinct flavors... eat it right in th' field like a cow... we're planning a wild foods potluck sometime, if you'd like to be involved, i'll email you with more of th' details, cheers... rico

  4. oh yeah, about th' mushrooms... i almost killed myself in my teenage years eating magic mushrooms, haven't been able to eat them since, but i'm trying to get used to them again as my family really likes them... so i can't answer that one... but they do taste good


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