Culinary Arts

Chef Thomas Keller's Sauce Vierge Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Mar 22, 2019 • 1 min read

Sauce vierge (which translates to “virgin sauce”) is technically a vinaigrette, and is elegant enough to deserve its name. It was created and popularized by the great French chef Michel Guérard, and is a famous example of his cuisine minceur, a lighter spin on traditional nouvelle cuisine. Guérard began developing cuisine minceur in the early 1970s at a spa and resort that he and his wife ran in Eugénie-les-Bains, about 500 miles outside of Paris. In keeping with the health-conscious ethos of the property’s ethos, Guérard’s food was characteristized by bright, vivid flavors that drew on far less butter, cream, and other fats than many French dishes of the past. A pioneering figure, Guérard was also part of a vanguard of talented French chefs, led by Paul Bocuse, that included Roger Vergé, Alain Chapel, Raymond Oliver, among others.


Chef Thomas Keller's Sauce Vierge Recipe

  • 125 grams of tomatoes, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 15 grams vinegar of your choice*
  • 5 grams shallots, minced
  • 35 grams extra virgin olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt, to taste
  • Pinch of parsley, minced
  • Lemon, to taste

*Chef Keller often uses champagne vinegar in this preparation, but you can use a vinegar of your choice, according to your tastes. You can also add or replace the parsley with fresh basil.

  1. Place the diced tomatoes and minced shallots into a mixing bowl. Add enough olive oil to thoroughly coat and absorb into the tomatoes.
  2. Gently fold in the chopped parsley and season with Maldon salt, balsamic vinegar, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Note: The vierge sauce may be prepared up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate, allow the vierge to come to room temperature before serving so that the flavors unfold and the olive oil is not congealed.

Sauce vierge is incredibly versatile. Chef Keller suggests dressing a salad with it or using it atop melted zucchini. Find his recipe for roasted zucchini here.