As a Southern raised and feed Georgian, I love Southern comfort food. Well, isn’t it all comfort food? Have you ever heard of Southern diet food? I don’t think so.
Fried chicken, fresh sweet corn. Pan fried catfish with hushpuppies and tartar sauce. Dang, I’m making myself hungry. In my youth I could, and did, sit down with a spoon and a jar of Tartar sauce and finish it off in one sitting. It might not be right, but it’s a fact.
Sauce That Please
Good food just isn’t complete without good sauce. After the French invented the 5 Mother Sauces to cover the taste of their rotted meat, what else was left?
The Mu’ther Sauces
Southern cooking was what’s left! Meat cooked for hours on end, smoked with the finest fruit woods. Tied together with killer sauces. Tomato based, mayonnaise sauces, cheese, vinegar, and of course fat based sauces. You know, red bbq sauce, white bbq sauce, cheese sauce, vinegar bbq sauce and gravy. I call them the 5 Basic Mu’ther Sauces of the South.
I’ll be asking you all for your favorite sauce later. This post is about a classic mayo based sauce. Tartar Sauce.
What Should A Good Tartar Sauce Include?
Mayonnaise of course. I’m not going to get into a Brand war on this blog but you can read what Southern Living wrote on the subject. I will name a few brands they ranked:
- Blue Plate
- Mrs. Filbert’s
- Just Mayo
- Kraft Real Mayonnaise
Pickles. You have to have pickles in a good tartar sauce, right? But should you use dill, sweet, bread & butter or something with a little kick like Wickles Wicked Pickles?Mustard. Goes without saying. Maybe. Will it be yellow ballpark mustard, mustard powder? How about dijon? If it is dijon will it be Grey Poupon or may be Gulden’s spicy brown mustard?
Other good stuff
Lemon – I guess you could use Meyer Lemons and that would add a touch of orange. What about Limes. Now that would boost the tang factor.
Capers – I love capers and beside caper berries, I can’t think of a substitute.
Garlic – fresh or powdered? My recipe calls for powder but I might try fresh and see what happens.
The spices – Some say yeh, some say nay. I say absooolutely! That said my recipe calls for Texas Pete hot sauce a touch of Old Bay seasoning and a hit of “optional” cayenne pepper.
I say Pete because it’s distinctive flavor doesn’t overwhelm with heat as could Tabasco. Louisiana Hot Sauce would be an acceptable substitute.
Cayenne is more flavor than heat so I add it.
Old Bay is a maybe. I honestly haven’t tried it in the sauce yet. I’ll let you know. It could be over the top or it might be just the touch on sea food.
If I didn’t think Tartar sauce was one of the all time best sauces, I wouldn’t have go to the trouble of disertating on it.
I will try a few of the variations we discussed here and get back to you.
I sure would appreciate any thoughts you all might have on the subject – jug
Southern Tartar Sauce Recipe
- 1/2 c Mayonnaise Your favorite brand
- 1 tsp Onion Dried Minced
- 1.5 tsp Lemon Juice juice of 1-1/2 lemons
- 1 tsp Dill Relish
- 1 tsp Capers chopped
- 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard Grey Poupon
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Pinch Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Hot Sauce Texas Pete
- 1 Dash Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne optional
- Add the mayonnaise, minced onion, lemon juice, to a small mixing bowl.
- Mince the dill relish and capers then add to the mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Transfer the tartar sauce to a Ball jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.