Creole sauce, or ketchup-based condiment with herbs (Saint Barthélemy)

Saint Barthélemy or St. Bart(h)s for short is a small island nation on the Caribbean. “Discovered” by Columbus, for a short time St. Barts was a colony of Sweden, but this only shows in a few places, like the country’s coat of arms and the name of the capital city (Gustavia) and its airport (Gustaf III airport). It still belongs to France as an “overseas collectivity”, uses French as the official language and the culture has heavy French influence. The population is less than 10,000. Nowadays the island is mostly known as a luxury holiday destination, especially in the winter. Rugby and watersports are popular.

Both French and Creole cuisine are popular on St. Barts, often with West Indian influences. Seafood is of course eaten a lot. Because of the wealthy tourist population, the island is full of fine dining restaurants serving different cuisines. There are also gourmet festivals. It is hard to find information on what kind of dishes the locals eat. The land is arid, so pretty much all food has to be imported.

This condiment of unknown authenticity is based on ketchup. One would think that adding vinegar and lime juice to ketchup makes for a very tart sauce, not so. Ketchup is full of sugar and when it’s heated, some of the acetic acid evaporates. So the result is actually quite sweet. Here it’s served with store-bought seitan carpaccio (which is pretty good) and a variety of foods I just happened to have (including baby avocado and some really nice heirloom cherry tomatoes) which seemed to fit the theme, aka “white girl’s idea of Caribbean food”.

Creole sauce

Creole sauce

1 tbsp oil or margarine
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1.5 spring onions, trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup/1.2 dl ketchup
1/4 cup/0.6 dl water
1.5 tsp vinegar
1.5 tsp lime juice
dash Caribbean hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil/margarine in a frying pan. Add onion, spring onion, garlic, parsley and thyme and cook over medium heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Add all the other ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add more hot sauce, lime juice, or salt to taste. Let cool and serve as a condiment. Makes about 1 cup/2.4 dl.

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