Roasted Tomato Ketchup

   Earlier this fall, I came upon a bounty of garden fresh tomatoes from a local farmer. They were in an advanced state of ripeness (ie. borderline mushy) so I roasted them with onions, puréed them and voila, the best tomato sauce ever. And super simple. As the weeks went along and I ran out of this, I went to any of the wonderful greenhouses at our local farmer’s markets (Doef’s, Gull Valley, TR Greenhouses) and continued to do my easy tomato sauce. I thought this sauce is only a few ingredients away from any number of condiments. The first that came to mind: ketchup.

   Historically ketchup was an extension of the South East Asian fish sauce. Basically it is the fermentation of something in salt until it goes to vinegar. Originally it was a means of preserving perishables like fresh caught fish. When the English explorers brought it back home, it became a way to preserve seasonal mushrooms or walnuts. It wasn’t until Europeans got over their fear of anything from the nightshade family (tomato, eggplant, zucchini) that tomato ketchup happened.

   Normally tomato ketchup includes quickly blanched tomatoes to remove the skin, but I found, through roasting, the skins come off naturally. What is even easier is simply puréeing and straining to eliminate the skin and seeds altogether. Here’s the recipe.

Roasted Tomato Ketchup

2 lb Doef’s Greenhouses tomatoes on the vine, cut in half

1 medium August Organics onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp Mighty Trio Organics cold pressed canola oil

2 Tbsp Coal Lake Honey Farms mixed flower honey

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 Tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika

1 tsp salt

   Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

   In a large roasting pan, scatter the chopped onions along the bottom. Drizzle with the oil and top with the tomato halves. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn the tomato halves and return to the oven. Roast for another 15 minutes.

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   Transfer the roasted tomatoes and onions to a blender and purée until smooth. Strain into a medium pot. Discard the skin and seeds.

   To the roasted tomato purée, add the honey, vinegar, nutmeg, paprika and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. Makes about 2 cups. It’s great served with a simple plate of roasted bangers and rustic cheesy mash.

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