Have you encountered a recipe that calls for Provencal sauce? Perhaps you’ve seen it on a menu when eating out somewhere? Regardless of how you’ve come across it, you are probably wondering what it is, exactly. Here is all you are going to want to know.
So, what is Provencal Sauce? Provencal sauce is a traditional French tomato sauce, that originated from Provence. It is made from herbes de Provence (an aromatic mixture of dried Provençal herbs and spices) along with other flavorings. This sauce is typically served with chicken or fish, as a base for other sauces, or with pasta.
Sounds delicious right.
Well, it’s a French classic for a reason.
But you probably still have some questions, including exactly what it is made from and what you can expect in regards to taste.
Let’s now take a look at those.
What Is Provencal Sauce Made Of?
Provencal sauce is traditionally made from a base of tomatoes and Provençal herbs and spices. From there, ingredients can differ from recipe to recipe, although sautéed onions, garlic, capers, and olives are commonly used. Some recipes also call for white wine, butter, olive oil, stock, or lemon juice too.
Ultimately, it depends on the recipe or the dish you are making/ordering.
There will always be subtle differences and nuances between the sauces.
Sometimes all the ingredients referenced above will be used, other times they’ll be a more refined selection.
And then there is the fact that some recipes will call for different ingredient quantities too.
Nevertheless, tomatoes and dried Provençal herbs are always included.
But what is dried Provençal herbs exactly?
Well, they are an aromatic mixture that typically includes: thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf.
What Does Provencal Sauce Taste Like?
Provencal sauce is a herbaceous tasting tomato sauce with a distinct Mediterranean flavor. It tastes somewhat earthy and nutty, a little sweet and somewhat bitter.
Although the true flavors of the sauce will vary by the sauce.
For instance, if butter is included, you might get a little creaminess whereas if chicken stock is used, you may get that subtle taste of meat pull through.
What To Eat Provencal Sauce With?
Provencal Sauce is best when served over meat, poultry (primarily chicken), or fish (such as baked cod). Although it can also be used as a base to make other sauces too. Some people have been known to use it as a pasta sauce or served with vegetables.
In French cuisine, this sauce is used in dishes including oeufs à la provençale (eggs in tomato sauce Provence style).
How To Make Provencal Sauce
Making a Provencal Sauce should only take you between 20-30 minutes. However, you will need to be particular in your sourcing of ingredients.
First and foremost, only use fully ripe, fresh tomatoes. This will ensure you have a rich, deep, and flavorful sauce.
The other essential ingredient is the herbes de Provence.
You can buy this as a pre-made blend (this is a great option from Amazon), or you can make your own.
If you go the make-your-own route you will likely want to include basil, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary.
One thing to note here, some herbes de Provence blends contain lavender. Not all do.
Whether you include it or not is going to come down to personal preference, although there is some dispute as to whether this herb should be included as part of the traditional blend.
- 2 Cups of Fresh Tomatoes, (De-skinned and de-seeded – i.e. Tomato Concassé)
- 1/2 Cup of Finely Diced Onions
- 1 Garlic Cloved, Pressed
- 2 Teaspoons of Herbes de Provence
- 2 Tablespoons of Capers
- 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Black Olives
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
Step One: Add the onions to a large saucepan and saute over a medium-low until they are translucent.
Step Two: Add your pre-prepared ripe tomatoes (tomato concassé), herbes de Provence, and garlic. Saute for a further 5 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.
Step Three: Add the capers and olives. Bring the sauce to a simmer to allow the sauce to reduce.
Step Four: Season with salt and pepper, serve, and enjoy!
There you have it.
Provencal sauce in a nutshell.
A tomato sauce with a herbaceous twist.
That is how to imagine it.
So do try the recipe above. Or do proceed to order it if you are out and see it on the menu.
It just pairs so nicely with chicken or fish.
It’s a great way to add depth of flavor.
Besides, the Provençal people knew what they were doing when they pulled this together.