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Fresh Tomato Sauce

July 27, 2017 (Updated: August 3, 2021)
Lily Moran

Serves 2

Total Time:

Summer is tomato season! All over the country, fresh, vine-ripened, heirloom tomatoes are available. They taste flavorful, they have plenty of health benefits, like lycopene; vitamins A, B3, B6, B9, C, and E. And this particular recipe is so simple because it practically makes itself.

Additionally, since it’s raw, this is a recipe where getting a really premium extra virgin olive oil can make sense. (The health and flavor benefits of a first pressing disappear when you heat olive oil, so I don’t recommend something premium for recipes you cook on the stovetop or bake.) This is one time it really makes sense.

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Throw this sauce on shellfish, chicken, pasta, toss a couple of spoonfuls with salad instead of a regular dressing. This recipe is a flavor bomb for any savory dish you can think of. And, don’t be afraid to change this according to your preferences. Instead of lemon juice for the acid, use your favorite vinegar, lime juice, or white wine. Toss in capers, olives, or your favorite pepper. This is infinitely flexible and amazingly easy.


  • ¾ pounds very ripe tomatoes (2-3 medium)
  • 1 garlic clove, whole, peeled, and smashed
  • ¼ cup fresh basil and chives, roughly chopped (the proportion is up to you, and you can substitute whatever is growing fresh for you or available at your farmers’ market, maybe parsley, tarragon, marjoram, oregano, even lavender!)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground coriander, cumin, ginger, or nutmeg, as you like


  1. Peel and roughly chop the tomatoes. (If you choose, you can seed them also, but I think the seeds are the best part.)
  2. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl, cover with cheesecloth, and let rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  3. Remove garlic cloves, taste and add more lemon juice or spices, if you like. If you’d prefer a smoother texture, blend with a stick blender. Serve room temperature over your protein.
  4. You can keep whatever is leftover in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week. I sometimes make cheese toast, pop this on stove just long enough to remove the chill, and spread it on the toast to have fresh pizza for breakfast.


Michel Guérard’s Sauce Vierge

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