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So much more than a condiment, ketchup calls for celebration – The Denver Post

So much more than a condiment, ketchup calls for celebration – The Denver Post

Like many People, I grew up on ketchup. I smeared it on eggs, puddled it subsequent to potatoes and glazed frozen hen patties with the stuff.

However as I crossed over to maturity, I obtained a sense that requesting ketchup at eating places instructed one thing about me past my most popular sauce. I understood that, in contrast to worldlier condiments similar to Sriracha, ketchup shouldn’t be refined – and neither are those that like it. Coming from a working-class background, I didn’t need to broadcast my blue-collar roots each time I ordered fries. I imply, frites. I branched out into aioli, flirted with malt vinegar and usually discovered to stay with out my ketchup.

Regardless of its down-market popularity, ketchup is ubiquitous. And it has been for a very very long time, definitely since Heinz patented its first bottle in 1882.

Students and meals historians contest the precise origin of ketchup. Eighteenth-century condiments with names corresponding to kecap (Indonesia) and ke-tsiap (China) recommend that the earliest ketchups have been concocted in Asia. From there the sauce traveled to Europe earlier than evolving into its present type in America.

The earliest makes use of of the phrase describe one thing that we wouldn’t acknowledge immediately as ketchup in any respect. Widespread early variations have been made with fermented mushrooms or walnuts and their pickling liquid, together with a slew of spices. Oyster, liver and lobster have been different major elements. Pungent, darkish and skinny, the primary ketchups have been decidedly not candy. Early recipes have been created with the aim of a lengthy shelf life. Some recipes had titles like “Ketchup to Keep 20 Years.”

American meals corporations standardized the long-lasting condiment that’s in virtually each fridge throughout the land as we speak. They, too, have been pushed by the aim of a long-lasting product. That’s how ketchup obtained so candy and thick – sugar is a pure preservative.

By the 1890s, the New York Tribune declared tomato ketchup the nationwide condiment of america. Meals writers of the time described it as an “incomparable condiment” and “the sauce of sauces,” in accordance with meals historian Andrew F. Smith’s e-book “Pure Ketchup.”

Nevertheless it wasn’t the sauce’s storied historical past that revived my long-dormant love. It was my Four-year-old niece. She doesn’t know that ketchup isn’t cool. Throughout one go to this yr, we ate tater tots and ketchup collectively, her glee unbridled, the reapplications of ketchup to her plate and mine quite a few.

Once I received residence, I purchased each frozen tater tots and ketchup. So what if it’s lowbrow? It jogs my memory of my niece, I assumed. Savoring the flavors and reminiscences of shared meals issues more to me than proving my refined palate. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than I emptied the bottle, discovering new methods to make use of it up.

A longtime favourite restaurant dish of mine – the deep-fried candy and spicy Cauliflower 65 – typically consists of ketchup. I ate this dish dozens of occasions with out realizing the tomato-based condiment performed a central position in its seasoning. Often described as Indian-Chinese language fusion, it’s the sort of Americanized melting-pot dish whose origins and “authentic” recipe are unclear, so I used a recipe from the “V Street” cookbook by Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby as my start line.

Ketchup is usually the important thing ingredient in one other basic sauce that’s presently out of favor: mayonnaise-based Russian dressing. Spicier than its sibling, Thousand Island, because of the addition of sinus-tingling horseradish, Russian dressing could be made properly with none mayonnaise in any respect (my model subs tofu for the mayo), however you possibly can’t get exactly the best tang for a Reuben sandwich with out a wholesome dose of the pink stuff.

A current dinner I attended featured a group of cooks, every cooking a dish to symbolize their heritage. Chef Andrew Wooden, recognized for his obsessive native sourcing at Russet in Philadelphia, brushed his buttery, ketchup-forward sauce on the hen he was grilling that night time. His dish paid tribute to the summer time barbecues his household shared when he was rising up. Most good recipes for American barbecue sauce are little more than gussied-up ketchup, and Wooden’s classic sauce recipe comes straight off the Heinz labels of the late 1970s. Once I requested him, stunned, concerning the Heinz, he stated, “You can’t make this without it.”

Barbecue sauce is not any status recipe. However I dare you to not prefer it combined with shredded hen and piled on a potato roll with pickles, or brushed on hen throughout its final moments roasting or on the grill. It will even be welcome alongside ribs or pulled pork, or added to your turkey burger.

Though ketchup is an indispensable ingredient for a variety of basic dishes, it shouldn’t want to cover in a recipe to be celebrated. If ketchup have been launched at present, we might hail it as the subsequent “it” condiment. It’s time to prepare dinner with it, in addition to slather it on potatoes, eggs, onion rings, meatloaf or wherever you prefer it greatest – and do it proudly.

Cauliflower 65

OVERVIEW: The cauliflower florets under have a scrumptious, slightly decadent look to them. Should you like issues much less spicy, be happy to make use of much less Sriracha.

You’ll want an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the oil.

MAKE AHEAD: These style greatest simply after they’re made. Saved in a sealed container within the fridge, nevertheless, they maintain nicely for three days. Reheat for a jiffy at 375 levels, till scorching and crisp.


  • half cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/Four cup Sriracha, or as wanted (see Overview)
  • 1/Four cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon floor turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon floor cumin
  • 1/Four teaspoon granulated garlic (aka garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • half cup chickpea flour
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 1 pound), damaged into florets (about 5 cups)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt
  • Cilantro leaves, entire or chopped, for garnish


Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

Whisk collectively the ketchup, Sriracha, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, curry powder, turmeric, cumin and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Whisk collectively the cornstarch and chickpea flour in a pie plate.

Add the cauliflower to the ketchup combination and toss to coat. Use tongs or your clear arms to take away the florets one at a time from the ketchup combination, shaking off any extra, and place into the cornstarch combination. Dredge every floret to coat properly, then place on the wire rack.

Pour sufficient oil to get 1/2-inch depth in a giant cast-iron skillet, over medium warmth. As soon as the oil temperature registers 350 levels on an instant-read thermometer, drop in a single floret; the oil ought to sizzle round it. Working in batches to keep away from crowding the pan, fry the florets for 5 minutes, tossing and turning for uniform browning after the primary minute.

Use tongs to switch the florets to the wire rack; season flippantly with salt instantly.

Cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

Russian Dressing

OVERVIEW: It’s true that this dressing actually wakes up a bowl of iceberg lettuce and cucumber slices, however its future is as a sauce for burgers and sandwiches.


  • eight ounces silken tofu (might substitute mayonnaise)
  • 1⁄Four cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped kosher dill pickle
  • 2 tablespoons ready white horseradish, or more as wanted
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon candy paprika
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or more as wanted


Mix all of the elements in a meals processor; puree till nicely blended however not fairly clean. Style, and season with more horseradish and/or salt, as wanted.

Hen Thighs With Basic American Barbecue Sauce

OVERVIEW: That is a speedy model of the consolation meals basic. You would grill the hen as an alternative of roasting it, or substitute bone-in, skin-on items if in case you have the additional time to roast the hen till it reaches an inner temperature of 165 levels.

MAKE AHEAD: Serve the hen thighs entire, or shred them and mix with more of the sauce for barbecued-chicken sandwiches.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 kilos boneless, skinless hen thighs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄Four teaspoon freshly floor black pepper
  • three⁄Four cup Basic American Barbecue Sauce (see associated recipe)


Preheat the oven to 425 levels.

Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the oil and organize the hen thighs upon it, turning to coat them throughout. Season them calmly with salt and pepper; organize skinned sides up. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or till the hen has cooked via.

Brush the hen with the barbecue sauce (about 1 teaspoon sauce per thigh) and proceed roasting for a further 5 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes earlier than serving.

Basic American Barbecue Sauce

OVERVIEW: For a completely clean sauce, pressure the onion and garlic bits out after cooking.

MAKE AHEAD: The sauce might be refrigerated in an hermetic container for as much as 2 weeks.

SERVINGS: three to six (makes three/Four cup)


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/Four cup grated onion
  • 1/eight teaspoon floor allspice
  • Pinch floor cayenne pepper, or more as wanted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mild brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • three/Four teaspoon liquid smoke


Soften the butter in a saucepan over medium-high warmth. Add the onion, allspice and cayenne pepper; prepare dinner for about 2 minutes, stirring, till the onion has softened. Add the garlic and prepare dinner for about 1 minute, till aromatic.

Add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, cider vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire and liquid smoke. As soon as the combination begins to bubble, scale back the warmth to low and prepare dinner for about 10 minutes, till barely decreased and thickened.

Let cool earlier than serving or storing.