Let’s face it: most bottled tartar sauces are awful. We set out to make one that is tangy without being too sweet and that will go well with seafood.
Tartar sauces that come in bottles, even some of the more chi-chi varieties are so sweet that they cover up the delicate flavors of most seafood. You will find tartar sauces mentioned in nineteenth century cookbooks and Escoffier mentioned it in his monumental Larousse Gastronomique. Here it is, spelled Tartare:
Name given chiefly to a cold sauce, mayonnaise prepared with crushed hard-boiled egg yolks and oil, with chopped chives added.
Well that is pretty boring, but other references like Wikipedia also refer to the related Sauce Remoulade, which is also commonly served with seafood, as well as with steak. The Larousse version of this sauce is
Mayonnaise to which gherkins, capers, parsley, spring onions, chervil, chopped tarragon and anchovy essence are added.
That’s a lot more interesting, but maybe more than we want on our fish.
The recipe we developed from a number of long lost magazine clippings and our own touches is closer to remoulade, but a bit different than that Escoffier described. It’s still mayonnaise based, of course, although light mayonnaise works just as well.
• 1 ripe tomato
• 3 Tb dry white wine
• 1 small chopped onion, or 2-3 scallions
• 1 sweet pickle (gherkin), chopped
• 1 Tb capers, chopped
• 1/4 cup (about) of mayonnaise
• 1 hard cooked egg
1. Dice the onion or scallions and chop with the tomato in a food processor
2. Pour into a small saucepan, add the wine and cook down for a minute or two
3. Strain off any excess liquid.
4. Put the tomato onion mixture in small bowl and add the pickle and capers.
5. Add enough mayonnaise until you have a chunky but spreadable sauce
6. Peel the hard-cooked egg and force it through a sieve into the sauce
7. Mix in the egg until the sauce is smooth.
Keep chilled until your seafood is ready. This sauce will keep refrigerated for a week or two and is way better than anything you can buy. And while this recipe looks time consuming, you actually can make it in about 5 minutes, once your egg is cooked. People will love it!
You can see a couple of photos of making the sauce here.
Our next recipe will be for some fish to serve it with.
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