I was thrilled to get this month’s Can Jam assignment — tomatoes all the way, chosen by my buddy Julia — because I knew it would give me a chance to redeem my favorite condiment. Ketchup, ketchup, ketchup. I love ketchup. When I was a kid, I’d sometimes insist on eating a hot dog bun with just ketchup — no wieners, please. My father and I would squabble over having the ugly bottle at the dinner table. I still put ketchup on my scrambled eggs, to the complete horror of many breakfast companions.
This ketchup is so grown up that I can’t imagine anyone turning it away from the table or getting squeamish if I gently spoon some on my eggs. (Because, really, isn’t part of the problem with ketchup that whoopee-cushion sploosh it makes when you turn the bottle upside down and squeeze? We’ll have no more of that.) It’s Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup from the new book Put ‘em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton. I love this recipe, and she’s graciously given me permission to share it with you here.
Have you seen Put ‘em Up! yet? I am a total fussbudget about books of all kinds — especially books that want to tell me how to do something. This book is both beautiful and clear. Yeah, I’ve found a couple of typos, but still, I want to start on page one and work my way right through to the end. (I’m particularly interested in exploring her many techniques for drying stuff — fruits, veggies, flowers, herbs.) Stewart even remarked on the book’s cool design when he walked into the kitchen, and I can’t think of when he’s leaned over and paged through one of my preserving books before. He said, “This has a lot of interesting things in it that aren’t jam.” Ahem. I think that was a hint. But he’s right: mushroom confit, martini onions, cherry-walnut relish and, yes, ketchup!
My only added recommendation for the following recipe is that you roast your red peppers first. This gives them a chance to cool down so you can handle them and get the skins off when you need them. Instructions for roasting the peppers are at the bottom of this post.
Roasted Red Pepper Ketchup
And here are instructions for roasting those peppers . . .
Roasted Red Peppers (Oven Broiler Method)
Preheat your broiler. Wash and dry the peppers, then lightly coat them with a flavorless oil, like canola or grapeseed. (I used sunflower oil, spraying it on with a Misto oil sprayer.) Place the peppers about 4 inches underneath the heating element, either directly on the oven rack or on a sheet of tin foil. Let the peppers blacken in spots. Turn them as needed to roast all surfaces.
Remove the peppers from the oven and drop them into a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with a big plate for 5 minutes. (Don’t leave them covered any longer or they’ll get too soft.) Let the peppers cool until you can comfortably handle them. Remove the skins, seeds, and stems, and use the peppers as called for in your recipe.