Sublime Ketchup from Chef Michael Anthony


I have been a lover of ketchup since I was a little girl and my grandmother served me spaghetti with ketchup and butter, thinking it was like the tomato sauce which she saw our Italian neighbors preparing. I never dreamed one could make real ketchup at home. But when I ordered the hamburger special at Gramercy Tavern, in New York City, it was served with the best ketchup I had ever tasted and I learned that it was the creation of executive chef Michael Anthony (one of my top favorite chefs). I immediately begged for the recipe. Chef Michael's ketchup is a world apart from even the best bottled store-bought variety. It is a brilliant blending of ingredients--less sweet, more vibrant, and far more complex. You will see why when you look at the ingredient list. It takes time, and attention, especially when cooking down the sauce so as not to scorch the reducing juices, and you'll need a food mill to achieve the classic silky consistency, but boy is it worth it! For me there is no going back.

I made one-quarter the recipe Michael sent which I am listing below, but do feel free to increase the recipe if desired. Makes: 400 grams/350 ml/1-/2 cups + Tomatoes and Vegetables

624 grams/22 ounces Roma tomatoes, cored and rough chopped (I used canned San Marzono)
114 grams/4 ounces white onion: medium dice
56 grams/2 ounces red bell pepper, charred, skinned, seeded, medium dice
3/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 medium clove garlic confit (see Note)
7 grams/1/2 tablespoon canola oil
Seasonings 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed 1/4 stick of cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon whole coriander 1 small allspice 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper salt, a large pinch

Gastrique 82 grams/1/4 cup corn syrup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Note: To confit the garlic, I added the oil to a very small pan and on the lowest possible heat cooked the garlic (cut in half the long way), turning it over from time to time until light golden. Then I used the oil to sauté the vegetables.
1. Heat oil in a saucepot (I used one with a non-stick lining); add onion and peppers, and sweat (sauté until translucent).
2. Add tomatoes garlic, and spices, all at one time; bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, prepare the gastrique:
3. Heat corn syrup in a small saucepan until it begins to caramelize. Separately, bring cider vinegar to a simmer (I heated it in the microwave). When the corn syrup is golden brown, slowly stir the cider vinegar into the syrup. It may seem to seize up once or twice, but will quickly melt and become smooth. Then stir in the red wine vinegar.
4. When the gastrique is smooth and fully incorporated, add to tomatoes and stir well. Cook uncovered, stirring often, for approximately 45 minutes, or until desired consistency is achieved.
5. Cool slighty, and run through the fine disc of a food mill.