Get your family to eat more fish with this homemade tartar sauce

There are times when fish simply cries out to be accompanied by the extra tang that a good tartar sauce brings. Fried fish and chips, deep fried scampi, calamari and even oysters, marry perfectly with the taste of tartar sauce. Preparing homemade tartar sauce requires no culinary skills at all as the desired ingredients, which can easily be varied by personal preference, are simply blended into mayonnaise for perfect results.

For those not convinced, it is quite worth the effort to devise their own tartar sauce concoction may be persuaded after reading this list of the following ingredients typically found on store bought labels:

“Water, Spirit Vinegar, Vegetable Oil (18%), Sugar, Gherkins (contains Firming Agent – Calcium Chloride), Modified Cornflour, Salt, Capers, Egg Yolks (2%), Acetic Acid, Stabilisers – Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum, Preservative – Potassium Sorbate, Garlic Extract, Spice.”

Hardly appetizing.

Where, one may be wondering, does one purchase Xanthan gum and Guar Gum? Home cooks should not despair as these are the ingredients in store bought Heinz tartare sauce and are not absolutely necessary in a healthy homemade alternative.

Homemade tartar sauce can be prepared quite cheaply. The chosen ingredients can be added to store bought mayonnaise or homemade mayonnaise, although this does require a little expertise to perfect. If opting for the latter, one requires 2 egg yolks, ideally saved from the preparation of home made meringues or an egg white omelette; 300 ml of extra virgin olive oil, cheap indeed if one happens to have a handy olive grove; 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar; a teaspoon of French mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Simply put the egg yolks into a blender and slowly, slowly add the olive oil whilst the blender runs. When it begins to thicken, and patience here is required, add the other ingredients.

If the price of extra virgin olive oil precludes the homemade mayonnaise option, then opt for store bought. Those concerned about their cholesterol levels can choose Hellman’s canola cholesterol free mayonnaise as a healthy base.

Having selected one’s choice of mayonnaise the next step is to assemble the additional ingredients. 200 grams or 2 cups is the ideal amount of mayonnaise required. Here is a selection of recipes which all involve simply blending or beating the ingredients into the mayonnaise.

Recipe 1

4 tbsp chopped gherkins

4 tbsp chopped capers

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped chives.

Recipe 2

1 tbsp capers

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

4 chopped shallots

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Recipe 3

2 tbsp horseradish sauce

1 tsp freshly pressed garlic

2 tbsp spicy pickle

2 tbsp chopped scallions

A dash of Tabasco sauce

2 tsp lemon juice

Recipe 4

1 chopped hard boiled egg

1 tbsp capers

1 chopped shallot

1 chopped dill pickle

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp chopped chives

Salt and pepper

Always taste test to check the flavors are working together. Confident cooks soon pick up the art of adding extras that work well as they taste. The addition of other fresh herbs is a matter of taste, with dill a popular choice, along with parsley and chives.

Once the tartar sauce is prepared, in a matter of minutes, store in an airtight jar and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. The finished sauce will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and can be enjoyed with other dishes in addition to fish or as a handy dip.