How to make ketchup, mayo, mustard, and salsa macha for the summer
The start of summer is a great time to cook a batch of homemade tomato ketchup, toss some fresh mayonnaise, and toss it all up with fresh herbs.
This summer, I’m personalizing my selection of condiments to keep the weekly burgers (variations of meat, poultry and vegetables) interesting. These jars of goodness will also be useful in salads made with grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs for backyard picnics or lakeside lunches.
I’ve never been a huge fan of commercial ketchup, which is why I like to whip up a smoky version made with bacon and smoked paprika. Ripe plum tomatoes cook in a sweet tenderness, and a swirl in the blender turns them into a smooth sauce. You will need to allow some cooking time in cool weather. The ketchup will last for several weeks and will work wonderfully on sliced beef brisket and smoked turkey.
I love seasoned mayonnaise spread over BLT sandwiches, spread over fish before grilling and mixed with main course salads like chicken and tuna salad. Here, pasteurized eggs will help solve food safety concerns. Season the lemon mayonnaise with fresh herbs, anchovies or capers. Or use lime zest and lime juice for a great version as a dipping sauce for cooked shrimp.
Why buy flavored mustards when you can turn a cheap Dijon into something extraordinary? Add mashed Kalamata olives and other goodies for a spread you’ll love straight from the jar. Use it for a unique twist on grilled cheese sandwiches or as a smear for grilled fish or chicken breast.
I have worked and traveled frequently in Mexico for over two decades. By far, my favorite condiment might be Veracruz salsa macha – an oil-based combination of chili, garlic and nuts. Keep a jar handy to serve just about anything from fried eggs in the morning to an afternoon hummus snack to evening grilled steak. The possibilities for this salsa are endless. It also works on grilled eggplants, fish, chicken, steamed vegetables, cooked cereals and small pastas. For a reveal, you can also try it on sliced tomatoes with a hint of lime or balsamic vinegar.
Be careful with all the condiments: be careful not to double the serving spoons. Use a clean spoon each time.
Fresh tomato and bacon ketchup
Stir it into sautéed spinach and serve topped with a hard-boiled or fried egg for a savory breakfast bowl.
2 thick slices of smoked bacon, finely diced (2.5 ounces)
2-3 large shallots, finely diced (4 ounces)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped or crushed
½ cup of dry red wine
5-6 large ripe plum tomatoes, trimmed, diced (1½ pounds)
2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons of agave syrup or corn syrup
2 teaspoons of tamari or reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground mace or allspice
Cook bacon in large saucepan over medium heat until bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the shallots. Cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the red wine and boil to reduce to a glaze.
Stir in the Italian tomatoes; cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
Incorporate the rest of the ingredients. Heat to a boil; reduce the heat to very low. Simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Pass the mixture through a blender (cover the top of the blender with a towel to avoid splashing) until mashed smooth.
Return to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired with salt and pepper.
Pack the mixture in covered containers. This will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Makes about 2¾ cups.
Lemon mayonnaise with variations
Note: For food safety, use pasteurized eggs for this mayonnaise.
Alternatively, you can process the eggs as follows: Heat a small saucepan containing several inches of water to simmer. Add 2 eggs (room temperature) in the shell to the water. Cook for exactly 1 minute (set a timer). Remove eggs with a skimmer into a bowl of ice water to cool. Break the eggs and separate the yolks for this recipe.
2 large egg yolks, pasteurized (see note)
Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of dry mustard powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup of safflower oil
Addition of flavors (choose 1 or 2): 1 anchovy fillet packed in oil; 1 or 2 tablespoons of drained capers; grated zest of 1 lime; 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, cilantro, dill)
Put the egg yolks, grated lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, dry mustard powder and garlic powder in a blender or small food processor. Mix well, scraping the sides as needed.
With the machine running, drizzle very slowly with extra virgin olive oil and safflower oil until the mixture is smooth and light.
Add any flavor additions. Pulse the machine with on / off turns to incorporate the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Makes about ¾ cup.
Summer mustard with all the goodies
½ cup inexpensive Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mashed pitted Kalamata olives or tapenade spread
1-2 tablespoons minced chives or scallions
1-1½ tablespoons drained capers or finely chopped pickles
1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled hot peppers, such as jalapenos, Calabrian peppers
2 teaspoons of pickle or olive juice
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Store in a covered jar for several weeks.
Makes about ¾ cup.
Peanut Salsa Macha
I love to use a variety of dried peppers in this versatile condiment style salsa / sauce. Buy dried chili peppers from supermarkets with a great selection of Mexican dishes. To assess freshness, press the peppers – they should be soft and pliable, not brittle.
2 to 3 ounces of dried chili pods, such as ancho, guajillo, pasilla, or New Mexico (or use a combination)
2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
¼ cup chopped pecans
1-2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
½ small red onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, halved
1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1-2 canned adobo chipotles, removed from the sauce
1 teaspoon of fine salt
½ teaspoon of dried oregano
Use kitchen scissors to cut off the stems of the peppers. Cut the peppers open and scrape off the seeds. Discard the seeds and stems. Use the shears to cut the peppers into ½ inch pieces. You will need about 1 generous cup of chili pieces.
Put extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until hot – not hot, definitely not steaming.
Add the peanuts, pecans, sesame seeds, red onion and garlic to the heated oil. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic turns golden, 5 to 10 minutes. The garlic should not burn and the oil should not smoke.
Stir in the chopped dried peppers. Remove from fire. Let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.
Add the vinegar, chipotle pepper, salt and oregano.
Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender container (work in batches if necessary). Use on / off turns to finely chop any solids. Do not mash. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more vinegar, chipotle and salt as needed.
Transfer to small covered containers. Use at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to several weeks. Let stand at room temperature to allow the oil to warm up before use.
Makes about 3 cups.