Sauce Rouille

Red Chili Pepper Mayonnaise


Preparation info

  • Makes 1 cup 250 ml Sauce to Serve


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Country Cooking of France

By Anne Willan

Published 2007

  • About

Rouille means “rust,” the color of this sauce powered with garlic and red chili and traditionally made in a mortar. I think of Sauce Rouille as Provençal, though it is popular all along the Mediterranean coast with grilled fish, hard-boiled eggs, and as the mandatory accompaniment to Bouillabaisse and Soupe de Poissons Provençale.


  • 1 fresh red chili, more to taste
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup/250 ml. olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • small mortar and pestle (optional)


    Cut away the green stem end from the chili, split it lengthwise, discard the seeds, and chop finely with a knife. If you have the mortar and pestle, put the garlic, egg yolks, chili, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in the mortar and pound with the pestle until the mixture thickens lightly, about 1 minute. Pounding develops the flavor of the chili and garlic. Gradually beat in the oil a few drops at a time until the sauce starts to thicken and emulsify. After adding about 2 tablespoons of the oil, the mixture should be quite thick. Transfer it to a small bowl and continue adding the remaining oil more quickly, pouring it in a very slow, thin stream while stirring constantly with a whisk or an immersion blender. (If added too quickly, the sauce may separate.) If you are not using a mortar and pestle, whisk the sauce in a bowl from the start. Work in the tomato paste and vinegar, taste, and adjust the seasoning. The sauce may be covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for no more than 12 hours. At serving time, let it come to room temperature before you stir it or it may separate.