Sauce Tomat and tomato sauce are one and the same, the former being the term you would find on a French menu. A popular condiment on pasta and pizza, you may even eat tomato sauce—or derivatives of tomato sauce—multiple times a week.
Sauce Tomat is one of the created by the famed chef Auguste Escoffier who revolutionized French cuisine in the early 1900s. From fish and meat to bread and pasta, there are few foods that are not improved by the addition of tomato sauce.
Though it may seem like a straightforward recipe, Sauce Tomat is fairly complex to perfect. Beyond excellent tomatoes, a classic French tomato sauce contains many ingredients and requires technique, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Once you’ve made it from scratch, you’ll never want to go back to store-bought canned tomato sauce.
Take a look at where Sauce Tomat came from and how to prepare a full-flavored traditional version.
Most historians agree that the first recipe for Sauce Tomat can be found in Lo Scalco alla Moderna, a cookbook published in 1692 by Antonia Latini of Naples, Italy. Popularized by this book as well as trade and travel, Sauce Tomat was soon used across Italy and spread throughout Europe.
When it got to France, French culinarians, as they often do, put their own spin on the dish. Auguste Escoffier was one of them. His take on Sauce Tomat appeared in his book Le Guide Culinaire in 1903. This became the version used in classical French cuisine.
The basic composition of French Sauce Tomat is tomato, fresh herbs, stock, and pork fat.
Though a lovely accompaniment to pasta, Sauce Tomat can complement more than just spaghetti. It is used on pizzas, as a topping for cooked vegetables, and as a dip for ingredients like fresh bread. And of course, many other sauces start with a tomato sauce base.
As a mother sauce, Sauce Tomat has many daughter sauces or derivatives. These small sauces include:
Now it’s time to try making tomato sauce. The following recipe is chef Auguste Escoffier’s original.
When reading the steps, you will notice that there is a lot of prep work involved in making a classic Sauce Tomat. Look at this as an opportunity to practice your knife skills and head to the grocery store or farmer’s market for fresh produce—including the most important ingredient, tomatoes.
For this recipe, you will need:
To prepare, follow these steps:
When you prepare Auguste Escoffier’s recipe for Sauce Tomat, you will be left with a salty and complex tomato sauce you may not recognize. This is very different from many modern tomato sauces, which are bright and acidic and rarely contain meat.
Every cook should have their own version of Sauce Tomat, a sauce so timeless and tasty that it can transform almost any dish. Experiment with this preparation until you have a perfect recipe of your own, then try making tomato-based daughter sauces!
To learn more about choosing and preparing tomatoes for use in sauces and other recipes, consider taking the Tomatoes 101 online cooking class through Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Home Gourmet in partnership with America’s Test Kitchen. This class will teach you how to pick the best tomatoes, which will make your tomato sauce that much better.
If making sauces and learning about French cuisine leaves you craving more, picture yourself with a culinary degree or diploma. Can you see it? The flexible online and in-person programs through Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts are designed for anyone with a passion for preparing food.
To learn more about French cooking, check out these articles:
This article was originally published on August 4, 2014, and has since been updated.
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