Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Homemade Ketchup

          Making ketchup at home using fresh tomatoes is a lot easier that most people might think. All you need besides the tomatoes is some onion & garlic, oil & vinegar, and some herbs and spices. If you can make spaghetti sauce, you can make your own ketchup. If you use fresh vine ripened  tomatoes in season, you will really taste the difference - even after adding all the sugar and vinegar. Turning fresh tomatoes into ketchup is a great way to preserve leftover tomatoes from your garden. This recipe is meant to go with the fish and chips recipe from my last post, but is also worth trying on burgers, eggs, or pretty much anything. For a spicy variation, you can try adding chili peppers. You can also experiment with heirloom varieties to give your ketchup a distinct homemade flavor.                                                                      

Start to finish 1 1/2 hour. Makes 1L ketchup.
    6      large tomatoes , diced 
    1      cup  onion, diced
    3      cloves garlic, chopped
100ml  olive oil
100ml  red wine vinegar
150g    sugar
   1 tbs mustard seed,
1/2 tbs black peppercorns
    5      cloves, 
    1      spring fresh rosemary

1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a saucepan, sweat the onions on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking 2 minutes. 
2. Add the vinegar, tomatoes and sugar and let simmer for 1/2 hour.

3. Put the mustard seed, peppercorns, cloves and rosemary into a coffee filter and tie with string or a twist tie. Add the pouch of spices to the pot and let simmer for another 15 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.
4. Transfer the sauce to the fridge and let cool for 30 minutes. 
5. Use a blender to purée the ketchup, and slowly incorporate 100ml olive oil while blending. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Transfer ketchup to a squeeze bottle and/or airtight jar. An open bottle of ketchup will keep for 2 to 3 weeks. Ketchup sealed in a sterilized airtight jar will keep for one year.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Who doesn't love fish & chips? It's fish sticks for adults, best enjoyed with a cold beer. If you made the steak tartare from my last post, you should have some great homemade tartar sauce already in your fridge. Instead of regular french fries, the "chips" in this recipe are "pont neuf" potatoes, which are thick cut fries that are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. I serve them with some delicious homemade ketchup

Serves 4, start to finish 40 minutes

800g  white fish - cod or haddock
  4-5   large potatoes
    1L  vegetable oil
     1   lemon cut in 8 wedges
200ml tartar sauce
200ml homemade ketchup

beer batter:
2 cups flour
2 egg whites
2 tbs  baking powder
350 ml beer
salt and pepper

1. Cut the edges off the potatoes to make the largest rectangles you can. Slice each potato into 2 or 3 thick slices, then cut each slice into 3 large fries.

2. Place the fries in a large pot of cold salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until a knife runs through them with little resistance. Transfer to a tray and let dry out before frying.

3. Whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Mix the flour & baking powder in a large mixing bowl, then stir in half the beer (175ml). Fold in the eggs whites. Gently stir in the remaining beer. Season with salt & pepper.

4. Heat oil to 350F in a deep fryer, or in a pot with a deep fry thermometer. Cut the fish into 8 100g pieces. Dredge the fish in flour, then transfer to the batter. Gently set the fish in the batter, keeping it towards the top, where all the bubbles are.
5. Add the fish one piece at a time to the hot oil. Let cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally until the crust is golden brown. Transfer the cooked fish to paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Don't overcrowd the oil. If using just 1L of oil in a shallow pot it is best to cook the pieces two at a time.
6. Add the boiled potatoes to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. If the fish has gotten cold during the cooking process, they can be reheated in the oil or on a baking tray in an oven that has been pre-heated to 400F.

To assemble:
1. Fill 4 ramekins or espresso cups with tartar sauce and place one on each plate.
2. Put 2 tbs of ketsup on each plate, then stack 6 pont neuf potatoes on the pool of ketsup.
3. Put 2 pieces of fish next to the stack of fries.
3. Garnish each plate with 2 wedges of fresh lemon.