A little while ago, my family and I went to the beach on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. There were many highlights. Seeing my parents for the first time since the before Covid times, swimming at the pool, playing at the beach, and, of course, stuffing our faces with fresh seafood.
Our favorite seafood spot is called The Sea Shack. It’s this total hole in the wall place in a strip mall. You eat in the parking lot, and it is delightful. My favorite thing to get is the fried grouper, with tartar sauce, naturally.
A delicious, delicious plate of brown and yellow food. My favorites. That’s Mark, my dad, and my brother modeling the parking lot dining experience.
Hey, I thought this post was about tartar sauce, not your vacation!
How do you feel about tartar sauce? When I was a kid, I thought the idea of it was super, super gross. Now, I’m into it. I very much enjoy tartar sauce on fried fish, especially.
What is tartar sauce, anyway, and why do we call it that?
Tartar sauce is a mayo-based condiment with minced pickles, and herbs – usually dill. I did a little digging on the origins of the name “tartar sauce,” and, like a lot of food history, it’s a little murky. We know that it is named after the French “sauce tartare,” which is the sauce used atop steak tartare. Steak tartare is raw, finely chopped beef with raw eggs, onions, other seasoning, and, apparently, the French used to put a sauce on it. Delicious? I haven’t been brave enough to try it. We think they named steak tartare after Tartar horsemen of centuries past (about 800 years ago in central Asia), who ate raw, finely chopped horse meat. The more you know!
If you want to know more, Click here.
Now, not all tartar sauces are created equal. If you have had a nasty tartar sauce out of a squeeze bottle at the grocery store, you should try making your own. It’s a different ball game. My version is much punchier and fresher tasting than anything you’ll find on a shelf, thanks to fresh dill, lemon juice, and fresh, chopped English cucumber.
When you make this, will you please leave a comment and rate the recipe? I really hope you like it. Till next time!
Homemade Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped baby dill pickles (about 3) You can use any pickle you like.
- 2 Tablespoons finely diced English cucumber Sometimes called hothouse cucumbers.
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl or jar, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together, tasting for seasoning as you go.
- Chill in the fridge. This sauce gets better as it sits.