Dana Slatkin

Addictive Sauce Verte with Seared Tofu (or Salmon or Chicken)

Sauce VerteWhen I was working as an apprentice for Michel Guérard in the Basque area of France, I peeled a lot of vegetables. Until one day, a few months into my tour, I was asked to make a sauce for dinner service. It was a Saturday night, and the restaurant was fully booked. The sauce was to swathe a gently poached piece of turbot, a delicate, flaky fish. All the flavor of the dish depended on my sauce.

As luck would have it, my charge was to make this “mother” sauce, one of the pillars of French cuisine, lightened up to accommodate the dietary guidelines of Monsieur Guérard’s world-renowned spa. Following the proportions to the letter, I managed to pull it off without a sweat, thanks to an assist from a Vitamix blender. Almost 20 years later, the recipe is still in my file of favorites, probably because everyone raves about it, and it is just so darned easy to make.

I have recruited Sauce Verte to dip crudités, to top grilled or roasted fish, to accompany roasted chicken, and to dress a salad of mozzarella and tomatoes. It has become a year-round staple with seemingly unanimous appeal (as evidenced recently by my green-adverse teenager licking the bowl). You can make it as I do — with green olives and miso — or as the French do, with anchovies and capers. Contrary to its salty ingredients, it goes full tilt on flavor without making your lips pucker.

Tofu doesn’t often figure in French cooking, so here I give it a Provençal spin. Make sure to drain the tofu well, pressing it down with a heavy plate for a meatier texture and better assimilation of the sauce. If you are looking for an exciting new way to present any protein, give this recipe a try. It just might follow you for the next 20 years.

Our December cooking contest will be the most fruitful of the year. Give it a shot!

For another unique spin on tofu, try my Tofu with Pea Shoots recipe.

Photo credit: Blake Slatkin

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