Salsa Palermitana (Palermo-Style Sauce)

November/December 2009

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (74 votes)

This wine-based sauce of cherry tomatoes, olives and capers gets a tangy punch from plenty of lemon. Serve over pasta or grilled or roasted fish. Have some warm, crusty bread on hand to soak up any extra sauce.

"My sauce did look like the picture but it took me more than 25 minutes for it to reduce. Too much lemons and wine... A bit disappointed! "
Salsa Palermitana (Palermo-Style Sauce)

Makes: About 6 cups, for 12 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Sicilian, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • 3/4 cup Nocellara olives or other big green olives, such as Cerignola, pitted
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 8 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the garlic is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, lemons, olives, capers and oregano sprigs; bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat (reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer, not a boil) until the sauce has reduced to about 6 cups, about 25 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil, chopped oregano and chopped parsley. Remove lemon quarters and oregano sprigs. Season with salt and pepper.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


163 calories; 11 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 263 mg sodium; 241 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 fat

Nutrition Note: Vitamin C (20% daily value), Vitamin A (15% dv).

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