The Five Classical French Mother Sauces: Tomate

The Five Classical French Mother Sauces: Tomate

The term “mother sauce” refers to any one of five basic sauces, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces.  The five mother sauces:

  • Béchamel
  • Velouté
  • Espagnole
  • Hollandaise
  • Tomate

Tomate is a sublimely light sauce.  Its perfect tomato flavor dresses grilled fish or roasted chicken just as well as a bowl of spaghetti. There are countless variations on the theme, as well. Add the fresh basil at the very end, just before serving, to maximize flavor.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup good-quality red wine
1-1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 traditional bouquet garni ( seen here)
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of red chili pepper flakes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes. Increase heat to medium-high, stir, and cook another 3-5 minutes. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper. Add the red wine, chicken stock, bouquet garni, sugar, and chili pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer.

Cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, or until reduced by about one-third and thickened. Remove and discard bouquet garni. Puree tomato sauce lightly with a immersion blender or in a stand blender, until frothy and chunky-smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add the basil just before serving.

Freezes well for about 3 months.

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