Ginger 5-Spice Ketchup, Double Fried Sweet Potato French Fries
You’re gonna think I’m a fraud.
I mean, I claim to be a foodie but how can that be? Despite writing a food blog and owning a quantity of cookbooks that questions my sanity (about 150), there is a little secret that I’ve been holding onto for quite some time…I hate ketchup and I hate mustard. What kind of ‘foodie’ hates ketchup, right?
I’m not sure how it started but I’ve never really liked the stuff. As a matter of fact, if I am in an enclosed space it is hard for me to tolerate the smell. I’m fully aware that there’s something a little off about me.
Well, last week I set off on a mission to end this. I figured that if I found a recipe for a good homemade ketchup that rocked my world I would see the errors of my ways. Guess what? I think I just may have found the recipe.
I came across a ketchup recipe in an old issue of Metropolitan Home magazine that really caught my eye (actually the article featured three ketchup variations). All of the recipes looked amazing but it was the Ginger Five-Spice Ketchup that caught my eye. Being seduced by the photograph and what looked like a simple recipe, I realized that it was now or never. So I bit the bullet and cooked up a batch.
It was a very easy recipe. And when I was done I dipped a Double Fried Sweet Potato French Fry into the ketchup and with some hesitation slowly tasted it…..I loved it!
The ketchup has a sweet and tangy flavor with a delicious spicy kick at the end. It’s a beautiful and unusual flavor profile that I think is exponentially better than a grocery store brand.
Now, I realize that making homemade ketchup is not a practical thing to do every time you cook a hotdog or burger. But if you have a special burger or maybe you’re having a nice outdoor party, this is the perfect condiment. With its bold flavor and bright orange color it’s almost a conversation piece.
This time I paired the ketchup with Double Fried Sweet Potato French Fries…what can I say, I was in a very orange state of mind.
These Double Fried Sweet Potato French Fries are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I love them. Their slightly sweet flavor works on two fronts. First, the mild sweetness cuts through the fat of the frying oil. Secondly, the sweetness is a perfect counter-compliment to the spiciness of the Ginger Five-Spice Ketchup.
NOTE: I almost forgot – a lot of you know this but the best way to peel a tomato is to cut a shallow cross hatch across its bottom and blanch it in boiling water (dip the tomato in boiling water for about 45 seconds). Remove tomato and let it cool a bit and the skin should easily peel off of the fruit (see above photographs).
GINGER 5-SPICE KETCHUP
From Metropolitan Home
2 tbsp. canola oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1½ tsp. dry mustard
¾ tsp. salt
2 lbs. ripe tomatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. freshly grated gingerroot
¾ tsp. five-spice powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar
In a medium nonreactive saucepan, heat canola oil and add onion, garlic, dry mustard and salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, until softened.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching. Gently break down tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon while cooking.
Add light brown sugar and rice vinegar and continue to cook, stirring for another 10 minutes, until mixture has a thick sauce consistency.
Purée using an immersion blender or cool briefly before puréeing in a standard blender. Pour into a jar and cool completely before covering and refrigerating. Ketchup will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about a month.
Makes 1 pint.
DOUBLE FRIED SWEET POTATO FRIES
Adapted from FoodTV.com
Canola or other vegetable oil, for frying
2 pounds sweet potatoes
Salt, to taste
Pour oil in a deep fryer or heavy saucepan to reach halfway up the sides of the pan. Heat to 325 degrees F, use a deep fry thermometer to determine this. While the oil is heating, peel the potatoes and push through a French fry cutter to form uniform sticks. As you go, place the cut potatoes in a bowl of ice water to release some of the starch and to keep them from browning.
Dry the potato strips thoroughly, this will keep the oil from splattering. Fry the potatoes in batches so the pan isn’t crowded and the oil temperature does not plummet. Cook for 3 minutes until they are soft but not browned.
Remove the potatoes with a long-handled metal strainer and drain on brown paper bags.
Bring oil temperature up to 375 degrees F. Return the par-fried potatoes to the oil in batches and cook a second time for 4 minutes until golden and crispy. Drain on fresh brown paper bags then place in a serving bowl lined with paper towels. Salt and serve immediately.