Fresh Tomato Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    2 Cups

Appears in

Jeremiah Tower Cooks

By Jeremiah Tower

Published 2002

  • About

Once tomatoes are boiled for more than a few minutes, they all tend to taste like Campbell’s soup, no matter what else you do. This may be praise for Campbell’s tomatoes, but why bother to buy fresh tomatoes for a sauce unless the sauce retains their freshness?

Mix this sauce with olive oil to serve cold or finish with butter to serve hot.


  • 4 cups chopped tomato
  • 1 onion, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herb stems, chopped (tarragon, thyme, basil, marjoram)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


Put the onion in a nonreactive saucepan with the olive oil, herbs, and ¼ cup water. Cover and sweat for 10 minutes, or until tender. Do not let the onions brown.

Prepare an ice bath.

Add the tomato and cook, uncovered, over high heat, stirring frequently for 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes have just given up their liquid. Puree the tomato mixture, and put it into a metal bowl placed in the ice bath, to stop the cooking. When the puree is cold, put it through a fine sieve.

Hold until needed. Then heat the sauce and whisk in the butter. Season and serve.