Justin Chapple prepares his three favorite hot dog toppings in this week’s episode of Mad Genius: Home Edition.

By Bridget Hallinan
July 01, 2021
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Hot dogs are a summer grilling staple. And while they're perfectly delicious simply topped with mustard or ketchup, this week's Mad Genius: Home Edition episode makes the case for going fully loaded.

Food & Wine Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple prepares his three favorite hot dog toppings—Chicago-style salsa, dried apricot mostarda, and pickled pepper slaw. All of them are easy to make and deliver big on flavor. The best part? They only take 20 minutes to make.

Read on to find out how to prepare all three and follow along with the videos below.

Chicago-Style Salsa

First up is a salsa inspired by Chicago (fans of Chicago-style dogs, this one's for you). It's loaded with thinly sliced red onion, diced Persian cucumber, quartered cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced peperoncini, inner celery leaves, and sweet pickle relish. With a little extra-virgin olive oil to bind it all together and some salt and pepper for seasoning, all you need to do is toss the ingredients in a bowl and combine them. In minutes, you'll have an impressive (and delicious) condiment. "This salsa is crunchy, it's fresh, it's packed with flavor, and if you're from Chicago, you know you gotta have that sweet pickle relish," Justin says.

Dried Apricot Mostarda

If you're looking for something with more of a sweet-spicy profile, this dried apricot mostarda—inspired by the Italian condiment mostarda—is your best bet. Justin's quick version starts on the stovetop, with apple cider vinegar, water, diced dried apricots, sugar, minced shallot, and minced garlic all going into a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer over moderate heat, giving it the occasional stir, until the apricots have softened and are "suspended in what looks like a light syrup." (It should take seven to 10 minutes.)

At this point, you'll stir in both the whole-grain mustard and the Dijon mustard, along with a little salt. Let the mostarda cool before serving—if it's too thick, you can thin it out with additional tablespoons of water as needed.

"This mostarda, it's phenomenal," Justin says. "I remember why I created it. It's just a little bit sweet, it's got a nice spicy kick from two kinds of mustards, and of course, that shallot and that garlic just makes it nice and savory."

Dried Apricot Mostarda
Credit: © Nicole Franzen

Pickled Pepper Slaw

Rounding out these hot dog toppings is a quick pickled pepper slaw, which requires just five ingredients (excluding the salt and pepper): sliced mixed green pickled peppers, shredded romaine lettuce, chopped parsley, chopped dill, and extra-virgin olive oil. Just like with the Chicago-style salsa, all you need to do is throw all of the ingredients in a bowl, toss them, and serve.

"I lied to you all," Justin says. "I told you that Chicago-style salsa was my favorite, but I lied! It's this one! It's so tangy, it's so crunchy. So good, they're all so good."