Based on one of the leading (mother) sauces this is a quick, tasty and uplifting sauce with olives, capers and Herbes de Provence. The success of this sauce depends on the use of the intense, flavorful classic tomato sauce. Sauce Provençal has a good structure and comes with a variety of flavors, making it very much an accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish. If you use modern tomato sauce, then the result will be nice, but not as spectacular.
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, savory and perhaps sage and lavender. Feel free to create your own mixture. If you buy a ready-made mixture, make sure it has character, aromas and structure.
Peel the tomatoes, remove the seeds and cut in small cubes. Finely chop the shallot. Wash and drain the capers. Crush the garlic and slice the olives in two. Heat a heavy iron skillet and gently glaze the shallot. Add tomatoes, garlic and herbes de Provence. Leave on low heat for 5 minutes. Now add the classic tomato sauce, the capers and the olives. Leave for 5-10 minutes. Stir the mixture gently. You want to keep the structure of the tomatoes. Taste and perhaps add some black pepper.
This recipe goes back to the days of Antonina Latini who published a recipe for a tomato sauce in his Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward, or The Art of Preparing Banquets Well) in 1692. Marie-Antoine Carême wrote about Latini’s recipes and Auguste Escoffier positioned the sauce as a leading (mother) sauce.
The sauce is different from a modern, vegetarian tomato sauce, for instance because one of the ingredients is salted pork, which obviously brings saltiness and depth to the sauce, in a very natural way. The sweetness of the tomato is supported by carrots, onions and various herbs, making it a much more complex sauce. The flavours and aromas of the tomatoes benefit from the rich and tasteful context. This also supports the concept of a leading sauce: you can use it as a starting point for other sauces. The texture of the sauce (it’s not smooth) in combination with the fat creates a very pleasant mouthfeel.
Sauce Tomate has many derivatives, such as Sauce Portuguese, Sauce Marinara and even Ketchup. In one of our next posts we will describe how to make Sauce Provençal and Oeuf à la Provençal (eggs poached in tomato sauce).
What You Need
200 grams of Salted Organic Pork (not smoked)
1 Celery Stalk
2 gloves of Garlic
4 – 6 Excellent Ripe Tomatoes
White Stock (Veal preferably)
Bouquet Garni (Parsley, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Rosemary)
What You Do
Start by cleaning and chopping the vegetables. Wash, dry and dice the salted pork. Render the pork meat on medium heat in a Dutch oven. Once lightly coloured add the leek, carrot, celery and shallot. Allow to cook for 5 to 10 minutes. You’re looking for a bit of colour, but not too much. Now add the tomatoes and the garlic. Once warm, wait for a few minutes before adding some white stock. This is a tricky part: if you add too much stock your sauce will be thin. Therefore some recipes suggest adding flour. We decided against it because we want a natural consistency. Now it’s a matter of simmering, either in the oven or on low heat. Allow to simmer for 90 minutes. Remove the pork meat from the sauce. Pass the sauce through a sieve, making sure you capture all those lovely juices. It’s hard work, but the remainder in your sieve should be as dry as possible.
We love a good sauce: it supports the flavours, it adds complexity to the dish and it brings components together. Orange sauce with duck, Béarnaise with beef, Sauce Mornay on a Croque Monsieur: the sauce is the key to the dish.
Marie-Antoine Carême (1784 – 1833) was the first chef to analyse sauces and create a classification. He identified four leading (mother) sauces and described how other sauces could be derived from these four. His four leading sauces are Espagnole (made with brown roux, roasted bones and brown stock), Velouté (white roux and light (veal) stock), Béchamel and Allemande (light roux with veal stock and thickened with egg yolks and cream). If for instance you want to make a Pepper Sauce, then you start by making a Sauce Espagnole.
Auguste Escoffier (1846 – 1935) refined the classification and replaced Sauce Allemande with Sauce Tomate as leading sauce. Later Hollandaise and Mayonnaise were added to the list of main sauces.
Sauce Tomate as prepared by Carême and Escoffier is very different from the sauce we use on pizza’s and pasta’s. It’s made with salted pork, veal stock, bones, various aromatic vegetables and of course tomatoes. Among the derived sauces are Sauce Portuguese and Sauce Provençal. Next week we will share the Classic way of cooking Sauce Tomate in detail; today we share our modern (vegetarian) recipe. The sauce freezes very well, so ideal to make a nice quantity.
What You Need
4 – 6 Excellent Ripe Tomatoes (depending on the size)
1 Red Bell Pepper (preferably grilled and peeled)
1 Garlic Clove
1 Glass of Red Wine
Bouquet Garni (Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay Leaf)
What You Do
Wash the tomatoes and slice in chunks. Peel the onion and chop. Add olive oil to the pan and glaze the onion for 10 minutes or so. Stir and add the sliced bell pepper and the sliced and seeded chilli. Let cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat. Add the chopped garlic clove. After 5 minutes or so add the sliced tomatoes, the red wine and the bouquet garni. Leave for 2 hours minimum to simmer. Remove the bouquet garni and blender the mixture. Pass through a sieve and leave to simmer for another 2 hours. Cool and transfer to the refrigerator or freezer.
PS Grilling a bell pepper: slice the pepper in large slices. Set your oven to grill, put a sheet of aluminium foil on the baking tray, put the slices on the foil, skin up and transfer to the oven, as close to the grill as possible. Wait for 10 minutes or until the skin is seriously burned. Transfer the slices to a plastic container and close the lid. Wait for an hour. Using your fingers and perhaps a knife, peel of the skin. Store the bell pepper and the juices in the refrigerator. The taste is deeper and sweeter compared to raw bell pepper.