A friend and I were once on a bus to Boston, discussing the origin of ketchup (a/k/a catsup). I insisted that it had to be a relatively recent invention, because the tomato is a New World fruit. She thought it was older. So I called up my brother, asking him to look it up for us online.
According to Wikipedia, ketchup predates the discovery of the New World and its tasty treats, and was originally more like fish sauce than the savory tomato-based sauce we are used to eating today. Along the way, ketchup was made with all sorts of different fruits. I’ve seen recipes for blueberry ketchup, cucumber ketchup, grape ketchup, and more.
Apricots are among my favorite fruits, though, and I have been looking forward to trying out this recipe from Recipes from Home by David Page and Barbara Shinn all winter. And after all, what fun are the first backyard burgers of the season without an interesting new homemade ketchup to go with them?
(from Recipes from Home by David Page and Barbara Shinn)
1 C dried apricots
1 1/2 C water
3/4 C dry white wine
1/4 C tarragon vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
3 tbsp honey
Salt, black pepper, and lemon juice to taste
Simmer all ingredients except the honey and the to-taste list in a saucepan for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in the honey and other to-taste seasonings. I used about 1/4 lemon worth of juice, and just the lightest sprinkle of salt, and plenty of black pepper. If the ketchup is too thick, you can thin it with water until it reaches the desired consistency.