I love it when comic books contain actual recipes. It’s the intersection of two of my very favorite things. So when I read Loki: Agent of Asgard #4 and the narration described a dinner Loki cooked for a friend, I knew instantly that I was going to try making it. And now I have.
As you can see, it wasn’t a fully detailed recipe, but it was enough to get me started. I’d never heard of “mustard mash” before, but a quick Google revealed that it’s mashed potatoes with mustard mixed in, preferably whole-grain mustard. It sounded great, and I can’t believe it never occurred to me to try that before. It seems to be a fairly common dish in the UK, but it hasn’t made its way to the US…until now.
I examined a number of mustard mash recipes, but none of them included the mayo called for in the comic. Most recipes called for butter, milk or cream, and whole grain mustard. I wasn’t sure if the mayonnaise should be added with everything else, or instead of one of the other ingredients. I had a hunch it would replace the butter, since they both provide fat (the world’s leading source of deliciousness), but I wasn’t sure. So I did what any comic-reading cook would: I reached out to Loki writer Al Ewing on Twitter.
Ewing was completely lovely and helpful when I asked, and explained his whole mustard mash recipe to me so we can all enjoy it. Thank you, sir! Our household verdict is that your mustard mash is magically delicious.
Incidentally, Loki: Agent of Asgard is a series I like a lot. Ewing is doing a great job producing a fun comic that is always on the verge of heartbreaking, and artist Lee Garbett and colorist Nolan Woodard make it a treat to look at. You should check it out, and not just because one time Loki briefly turned himself into this unicorn, as if trying to appeal specifically to my eight-year-old self. (My 38-year-old self is also down with it.)
On to the recipe! Loki’s love of breakfast meats has been previously documented in this column, but we’re in for lighter fare this time. There are three parts: the mustard mash, the peppers, and the salmon. (Incidentally, Loki famously turned himself into a salmon in Norse myth. He also turned himself into a mare, and became the mother of Odin’s eight-legged steed, Sleipnir, the greatest of all horses. Norse mythology is the best kind of weird.)
Mustard Mash a la Al Ewing
2 pounds floury potatoes (I used russet)
1/2 cup milk (whole, 2%, whatever you have)
2-3 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1/3 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper, to taste
All these measurements are approximate. Add the ingredients to the potatoes in small increments until you reach the desired flavor and texture. Remember: you can always add more milk, mustard, or mayo, but you can’t take it out once it’s in. Taste the potato mixture as you go to see how it’s coming along.
Peel the potatoes, chop them into roughly equal-sized chunks, and boil them until they pierce easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes, then add the milk. Mash until the milk is incorporated, then add the mustard. Mix well. The mustard grains will be distributed through the potatoes, giving it a distinctive look, texture, and flavor. I ultimately added more mustard than was originally called for, and it was very good.
Now add the mayo and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper, mix again, then taste again. How’s the flavor? Is the texture creamy enough? Add milk or mayo depending on how it tastes. When you’re done, cover the pot and set it aside. If you used an oven-proof pot, you can keep it in a warm oven until the other dishes are ready.
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
1 large red bell pepper
2 yellow bell peppers
Slice the peppers into strips, discarding the stems and seeds. Heat the oil or butter in a skillet. When the oil is hot, put the peppers in and stir them around. They will begin sizzling immediately. Keep stirring them around until they soften and just begin to brown. Don’t wait until they get really mushy — they should be softened, but still have some texture. Set aside and keep warm.
Loki’s Pan-Seared Salmon with Lemon
3 Tbsp canola oil
zest of 1 large lemon
juice of half that lemon (reserve the other half)
1/2 tsp salt
2 servings salmon filet, skin removed
Drizzle the canola oil into a skillet. Add the lemon zest, juice, and salt, and let it sit for a while so the lemon really gets into the oil. Meanwhile, let your salmon pieces come up to room temperature so they’re not fridge-cold when they hit the pan. Heat the lemon-oil mixture until it is very hot, but not smoking. (Canola oil is better than olive oil for this because olive oil’s smoke point is low, and it may scorch, which tastes nasty.)
When the lemon oil is very hot, lay the salmon pieces in it. The salmon will sizzle immediately and begin to sear. Let it cook like that for a few minutes. You will be able to see the part of the salmon nearest the heat becoming opaque from the side. When that side seems set, flip each piece of salmon over. You should see a nice brown color on the salmon, and maybe a few bits of seared lemon zest. Let the salmon cook until it’s as done as you want it. High heat helps because you want it to be done through and — as specified in the comic — “just crispy,” but you don’t want it to get dry and dessicated. If you see little globs of white stuff on the salmon, it’s overcooked, so try to avoid that.
When it’s done on both sides, remove the salmon and place each serving on a plate. Then spoon some mustard mash onto the plate, and add a serving of sauteed peppers. Squeeze a little more lemon juice over the plate and serve hot!
This was a big hit in my house. We consumed entirely too much mustard mash, but have no regrets. So if a known trickster god offers to make this for you, go ahead and accept. But until that happens, you can make it yourself.
My thanks again to Al Ewing for his help with this recipe, and for writing a comic I love. Loki: Agent of Asgard #10 comes out today — go buy it!