Oh, how I truly adore sauce vierge! I am a big, big fan of fresh basil, and sauce vierge is one of the best ways to use it. Whether you use the sauce as a base for a piece of grilled salmon, or just dip a toasted baguette slice in it, it’s delicious.
Sauce vierge has a few different variations, but the standard for the sauce has remained a mix of tomato, basil, olive oil, and lemon juice. In this recipe, I’ve included a little bit of minced garlic and a pinch of ground coriander seeds, which are pretty common additions.
Other additions include chopped parsley or chopped chervil.
In a way, sauce vierge is very much like the topping you’d find on the Italian bruschetta. This really isn’t a surprise when you learn that sauce vierge is a creation of Southern France (which borders Italy).
I would say that the difference between a sauce vierge and bruschetta topping is that the sauce vierge is a bit more liquid-based because the chopped tomatoes and basil sort of bathe in the olive oil rather than simply get tossed in a drizzle of olive oil.
The Perfect Base for Seafood
Sauce vierge is very fresh and vibrant on the palate, which is why it pairs beautifully with seafood. The zing from the lemon juice and heat of the garlic are absolutely gorgeous with a delicate piece of fish.
I tend to buy salmon when I buy fish from the market, and I love using this sauce vierge as a base for the fish. I usually pour the sauce on a plate, then place the fish onto the sauce. I’ll spoon just a little bit of the sauce on the fish for presentation, but not too much to keep the fish nice and crisp.
Once you actually cut into the fish, you can use your knife to scrape some of the sauce onto it and enjoy the fish and sauce together.
Sauce vierge can be whipped up in just a few minutes, but it’s also a wonderful recipe to make ahead. The longer the mixture rests, the more time the flavors have to develop and meld together.
The sauce can be served cold or warm, whether you serve it straight out of the fridge or right after you create the sauce.
I like to make the sauce a couple of hours before I’m going to use it, then let it rest at room temperature until I’m ready to serve it. By that time, the sauce has developed in flavor and is not too stark of a contrast in temperature when in paired with the hot fish.
A vibrant tomato and basil sauce that pairs beautifully with seafood. Makes 1 cup sauce.
- 1 tomato skin peeled, diced
- 3 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander seeds
- freshly ground sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl with a pinch of freshly ground sea salt and pepper. Toss together to combine, then let the mixture rest until ready to serve.
The longer you let the sauce rest, the more flavorful it will be. If you'll be leaving it out for few hours, it's fine to leave it out at room temperature. If you're preparing it farther in advance, I suggest covering and refrigerating.
If you'd like to pair this with a filet of salmon, simply pat dry your salmon before adding freshly ground sea salt and pepper to the flesh-side of the salmon. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the salmon (flesh-side down) to the pan and sear each side for a few minutes, until the salmon is cooked through and pale pink.