Michel Guérard's Sauce Vierge

June 21, 2017


Author Notes: Sauce vierge (literally, virgin sauce) was created in 1976 by Michel Guérard, one of the forces behind the lighter, fresher nouvelle cuisine that sprang up in reaction to cuisine classique, dripping with all its hefty mother sauces. There have emerged only a few non-negotiables: fresh tomato, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs—but from there it's up to you. In this way, sauce vierge is a true foundational mother sauce, one from which we can build many. Adapted very loosely from La Cuisine Gourmande by Michel Guérard (1977).Genius Recipes

Makes: about 2 cups sauce, or 4 servings
Prep time: 2 hrs
Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients

  • 3 large, very ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 whole, peeled garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs (any combination of chives, tarragon, parsley, basil, chervil, basil, cilantro)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or to taste)
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of ground coriander (optional)
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes (peel and seed them first if you like, but we prefer not to). Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and leave to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours; alternately, mix the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer the sauce very slowly over low heat for 30 minutes.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning, remove the cloves of garlic, and serve warm or room temperature, over fish, pasta, chicken, or anything else summer throws at you.

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Reviews (11) Questions (1)

11 Reviews

rlsalvati July 16, 2018
I've made this a couple times now, once gently simmered and once uncooked. Used an assortment of CSA heirloom tomatoes. Rave reviews both times. Cut down a great deal on the olive oil.
 
tamater S. July 16, 2018
Good call; as Ttrockwood said: "This is such a crazy ton of olive oil! I used maybe 1/3 cup and it was more than generous for the uncooked version."
 
nancy E. August 2, 2017
Could you tell me how this would work on slow roasted Sockeye Salmon<br />
 
tamater S. August 2, 2017
The base of my version is chopped fresh tomatoes & chopped preserved lemons. All the other things are optional, such as: an anchovy, herbs, oil, etc. The sauce may be heated through in any manner, or spooned room temp over hot cooked rice n' veg, or meat. Keeps well in fridge or freezer.<br />Simple way to add umami. <br />*if adding anchovy, remember the preserved lemons are also salty.
 
Read July 4, 2017
Surely this makes 4+ cups? 1.5 lbs of tomatoes would be 3 cups pureed, and choppped would take a bit more room.
 
Ttrockwood July 1, 2017
This is such a crazy ton of olive oil! I used maybe 1/3 cup and it was more than generous for the uncooked version. The tomato juices and oil puddle in the bottom of this dish- i actually drained that and used as a salad dressing for some greens which was very tasty!
 
Mikele A. July 5, 2017
Agree about the excess of oil, and adore your idea with reusing as dressing!
 
June June 26, 2017
This is very weird, but I have been making this for years using tomatoes, garlic, chives, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a family favorite bruschetta! With the exception of the vinegar....it is exactly the same!! And yes...either way....it is outstanding and perfect for my veggie garden that produces all the above in abundance!! Try it...you will definitely adore it!
 
Saffron3 June 22, 2017
I'm going to make this all summer. Thank you.
 
Vickie June 21, 2017
This sounds delicious, healthy and simple! Wondering if it would freeze -as I have an abundance of fresh herbs and tomatoes at this time?
 
Nicole July 5, 2017
Freezing tomatoes ruins their texture, unfortunately. Source: have 3000-plant tomato farm.