The traditional fish and chips may English, but the accompanying sauce tartare (tartar sauce) is all French. And if you are a lover of seafood and breaded meats, the tartar sauce has to be one of your favorites.
A tangy and flavorful condiment, tartare sauce is incredibly simple to make. It goes well with fried fish, fried shrimp, fried clams, and even on fish sandwiches. You can even use it in place of mayonnaise in all sorts of dishes for a bit more tang and flavor.
It is not really clear where tartar sauce got its name from, with the word tartare being a Turkic word referring to the Tatar people (Turkish-Mongol peoples, whose territory was also called Tartary in the West.
And if you are looking for something natural, other than the store-bought variety, the sauce is easy enough to put together in 10 minutes or less. And you probably can make this easy tartar sauce recipe with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry. So let’s get it shall we? Allons-y!
Shortcuts to tartare sauce
While tartare sauce doesn’t take very long to prepare, it does taste better if it has been sitting for while in the fridge. If you are short on time, you can use store-bought mayonnaise that has been in the fridge instead of making your own.
I say this because if you are making your own mayonnaise, the French recipe takes into account that in France eggs are usually kept outside. The eggs whisk better when they are kept at room temperature. You can read more tips about making your own mayonnaise here.
Another way to speed up the tartare sauce recipe is to use dried versions of dill, chives and parsley, rather than chopping up fresh herbs. If you have time, by all means go for fresh ingredients, but the dried herbs will work in a pinch.
Tartare compared to Bearnaise and Hollandaise Sauces
As I mentioned, the tartare sauce is a daughter sauce of the hollandaise. The tartare often gets confused with the béarnaise sauce which also includes herbs and is also relatively tangy in flavor. To compare the sauces, here are their major ingredients.
- Hollandaise: sauce made from egg yolks, melted butter, and lemon juice.
- Béarnaise: sauce made from butter, egg yolk, white wine vinegar, and herbs.
- Sauce Tartare: sauce made from egg yolk, chopped pickles, capers and herbs such as tarragon and dill.
Normally, the tartare sauce doesn’t include mustard, which is what differentiates it from the remoulade sauce.
Frequently asked questions
What to serve tartare sauce with?
Tartare sauce is usually served with breaded dishes like the English fish and chips. It also goes well with fried seafoods like shrimp, oysters, and fish fingers, or breaded meat like schnitzels from Alsace.
What drinks to serve with it?
Can you freeze it?
If you are using store-bought mayonnaise, you can freeze it since it has additives in it to keep it from separating.
If you are making your own mayonnaise, I recommend not freezing it since it contains raw egg which could include bacteria.
- 2 small dill pickles
- 1 tablespoon of capers
- 1 teaspoon of dried dill
- 1 tablespoon of chopped chives
- 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon of espelette pepper (or cayenne pepper)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
Home-made Mayonnaise (Optional alternative is store-bought)
- 2 egg yolks
- 25cl (1 cup) of olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 table spoon of vinegar (wine or apple cider)
- Chop more or less finely (to your taste) the capers and pickles.
- Mix in the chives, dill, parsley, espelette pepper, lemon juice and black pepper to make a tartare base.
- Optional: Make a mayonnaise or use store-bought. To make the mayonnaise, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Then combine in the olive oil, vinegar, and salt until it is smooth.
- Mix in the tartare base into the mayonnaise.
- Set aside in fridge once the tartare is smooth, and serve when ready.
Adjust the spiciness of the tartare with espelette pepper based on personal preference.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 340mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g
Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !
Did you enjoy that article? Save it for later!
Check out our Substack and subscribe to get the latest posts and what’s happening in Paris and across France, straight to your inbox. À bientôt!