Sauce Vierge by the Rule of Fives

The key ingredients of this French sauce vierge are olive oil, lemon juice and chopped tomato and basil. Sometimes the oil is infused with a little dry fried, and then lightly crushed coriander seeds.

I got the idea for adding the black olives from Marco Pierre White – a touch of genius I think.

In the normal course of things I wouldn’t dream of peeling the tomatoes, but I’m afraid in this instance it really is essential. The tomatoes give the sauce a really fresh taste of summer.



Recipe for Sauce Vierge


Enough for four to go with fish or meat.


  • 20 basil leaves
  • 5 large plum tomatoes – 500g/1 lb 13 oz
  • 10 pitted black olives
  • 10 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 20 capers
  • 20 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 20 coriander seeds (optional)


  1. If you are using the coriander seeds, dry fry them, and lightly crush them in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Gently warm the oil, and add the seeds to it to infuse.
  3. Boil a kettle.
  4. Cut a cross in the end of the tomatoes put them in a large bowl and pour over the boiled water. For more on this technique go to my post on how to easily peel tomatoes. For the best knife to use for this job go to my post on the best tomato knife.
  5. Leave to cool.
  6. Meanwhile chop the olives and the capers and tear the basil leaves up quite small
  7. When cool, peel the tomatoes (you don’t need to do this too thoroughly), core them, and turf out the seeds (again, the odd seed remaining isn’t a disaster).
  8. Chop the tomatoes quite small
  9. Mix all the ingredients together and taste. The sauce may need more salt.
  10. Serve slightly warmed or at room temperature.



Things to serve with sauce vierge


  • All kinds of white fish
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Seafood – especially lobsters
  • Steak



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