~ My Favorite Tartar Sauce (For Fish and Seafood) ~
Tartar sauce can be bought at any and every grocery store. They must sell a lot of it, because just yesterday I had to choose from, and bought, five jars of five different brands -- just for me to conduct a taste test before writing this. The one that got top billing was our own local Wegman's brand. Bookbinders came in second with Hellman's a distant third. As for 4th and 5th places, "if one can't say anything nice, one shouldn't say anything at all", but it's my guess that when someone says they don't like tartar sauce, it's because they tried one of those two -- which tasted like mayonnaise with lemon and salt stirred into it. That said, the one that stole the show was the one I've been mixing together for ages now, and, it takes less than 10 minutes to make, so, if you are buying tartar sauce in the name of convenience, it's time to rethink its purchase.
A bit about tartar sauce: Tartar sauce is a thick, rich, white mayo-based sauce that is typically served alongside or atop fish or seafood, however, it is quite delicious served with any number of raw or cooked vegetables -- including French fries. The French invented it, calling it "sauce tartare", and, they start by making mayonnaise made from scratch, which by all means do if you have the time and/or expertise. You can find my easy food-processor recipe, ~ How to: Make Homemade Mayonnaise ("Mayo"), ~ in Categories 8 or 20. When the classic egg yolk, lemon juice (or vinegar) and oil emulsion is complete, they simply add an herb (like chives, dill, parsley or chervil) some chopped gherkins and occasionally a minced shallot.
My recipe evolved over time, with the final "tweek" being: I'm wed to adding dried or fresh dill (if it is in season) to the mixture. It makes perfect sense, as dill pairs so well with fish and seafood. Personally, I think that whatever tartar sauce recipe you are making: mine, your grandmother's, a friend's or a stranger's, dill is the ingredient that really takes this simple recipe over the top!
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely-diced sweet gherkins or sweet pickle relish or a cominbation of both, to taste
1/4 cup very-finely diced yellow or sweet onion, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, preferably fresh
3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
~ Step 1. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients as listed. Transfer to a food storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or overnight prior to serving chilled. Overnight is truly best, and, tartar sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for about a week .
Throw a line in the water and hook up w/some fish or seafood ...
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 1-cup measuring container; large spoon; 2-cup measuring container w/tight fitting lid
Cooks Note: Tartar sauce is classically served with beer-batter-dipped deep-fried "fish 'n chips", cod or crab cakes. One of my favorite recipes, which would be a perfect appetizer to pass around at the upcoming Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, ~ Anchor-Deep Deep-Fried Shrimp w/Tartar Sauce ~, can be found in Categories 1, 2, 11, 14 or 17.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)