Nick Coe came into a few hundred pounds of tomatoes last fall while he was running his Molonay Tubilderborst pop-up at Señor Fish.
The Garden Of... was offloading the last of its late-season crop, and Coe boiled them down into ketchup, which he served with butternut-squash tater tots.
The pop-up’s moment has passed, but last week Coe cooked his first full-scale commercial batch of Molonay Tubilderborst ketchup ($6 for 12 ounces), born of that chance experiment and currently available at Lindy & Grundy and the Altadena Farmers’ Market.
Coe researched 19th-century recipes, found an organic California-grown tomato paste, parsed the FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations entry on ketchup, and contracted the centenarian Sierra Madre food-preserving company E. Waldo Ward to do the production and bottling.
The result is three separate ketchups: spicy, savory and curry. Each offers a darker, less sweet and more complexly spiced alternative to the Heinz standard. The difference in the flavors results from slight tweaks to a base spice mix, which Coe allows he built on the historic trinity of allspice, cloves and cinnamon.
But you’ll have to guess at what the so-called exotic additions are, because Coe isn’t talking.