Tomato-Based Vinaigrette/Hollandaise Sauce for Fish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • yield: 2 cups , about



Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

In classic French cooking, a tomato sauce for fish would be based on fish velouté, which would then be flavored with tomato purée (see Sauce Aurore). In the following sauce, the tomato purée becomes the base of the sauce by contributing not only flavor but body. It also functions, along with modern emulsifiers such as liquid lecithin, as an emulsifier for vinegar and oil. This sauce can, when oil is used, be described as an elaborate vinaigrette. When hollandaise sauce replaces all or some of the oil called for in the recipe, the sauce veers from elaborate vinaigrette to an emulsified butter sauce.

This sauce can be modified by using different vegetable purées as the base, by altering the ingredients in the court-bouillon (or replacing the court-bouillon with shellfish cooking liquids), and by using emulsified or butter sauces other than hollandaise (sauces finished with crustacean and coral butters work well).


court-bouillon 2 cups 500 ml
thick tomato coulis 1 cup 250 ml
dijon mustard 2 tsp 10 ml
sherry vinegar 4 tbsp 60 ml
xanthan gum 0.4 g
extra-virgin olive oil or hollandaise sauce, or a combination ¾ cup 200 ml
mono- and diglycerides (glice) (optional) 2 g
liquid lecithin (optional) 2 g
salt and pepper to taste to taste


  1. Reduce the court-bouillon to ½ cup (125 milliliters).
  2. Use an immersion blender to blend together the tomato coulis, reduced court-bouillon, mustard, vinegar, and xanthan gum. This is the liquid base for the vinaigrette.
  3. If using only olive oil, heat it to 140°F (60°C). Add the Glice and liquid lecithin. Stir until they dissolve. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Blend the olive oil into the tomato mixture in a steady stream as though making mayonnaise. If you’re using hollandaise, simply fold the base and hollandaise together. If you’re using both oil and hollandaise, stir in the hollandaise first (being an emulsion, it helps stabilize the sauce), and then work the oil into the sauce in a steady stream.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.