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Help with Tartar Sauce

I have now tried 5 tartar sauce recipes. None were satisfactory. Anyone have a recipe for a great tartar sauce? AND what makes for a great tartar sauce?. My favorite is the tartar sauce at Luby's Cafeteria in Texas, but I have not had it in a long time.

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    1. re: monavano

      My not exactly tatar sauce is great on lots of stuff.. here goes:

      1 head roasted garlic
      2 tbls spoons capers chopped
      Juice of 1 lemon
      Fresh or dried dill to taste,corse ground black pepper, Your favorite mayo (1 cup).

      If you like it a bit sweeter and thinner - I had some "seasoned" rice wine vinegar.

    2. Are you using freshly made mayonnaise or commercial mayonnaise?

      2 Replies
      1. re: GH1618

        There's really no point in making your own tartar sauce if you're just going to resort to jarred mayo.

        1. re: GH1618

          I have never made mayonaisse - I would be even better if I did!

        2. I find Luby's tartar sauce to have far too much sugar. Now I haven't eaten their in years, but it was right after I moved from Boston, so I certainly knew good tartar sauce. My favorite sauce is a recipe from Rick Moonan's FISH: Without a Doubt. I generally use home-made mayonnaise and don't add the extra olive oil. To me, this is the perfect tartar sauce. You might want to add a bit of agave syrup to get the sweetness that Luby's has.


          1. After reading your post I googled "Luby's Tartar Sauce Recipe" and there it was.

            1. Mayonnaise: juice of one medium lemon (tart, not Meyer), a scant teaspoon of Dijon, a judicious pinch of salt, two egg yolks, and one cup f peanut oil. Add capers. Mmmmm

              1. It depends on what you like... have you isolated the flavors and textures that you prefer?

                3 Replies
                1. re: wyogal

                  Luby's is some way similar to the what was called Tartar Sauce down here in South Fl and the Keys back when I was a kid in the 50's and early 60's. It wasn't this sweet pickles/relish, sugar, and mayo stuff that suddenly became Tartar Sauce during the 70's when the chain restaurants started moving down here. If you went to a restaurant or cafeteria back then, what was served as Tartar Sauce was based on very finely shredded and chopped cabbage and a little green pepper and onion almost to the point of an over processed fine pulp mixed with mayo, finely chopped dill pickle or dill pickle relish. That was pretty much the standard base no matter where you went. Some places added combinations of finely chopped parsely, lemon or key lime juice or zest, and/or capers. The mayo was often made fresh in the restaurant then. I can post a basic recipe if you're interested.

                  1. re: DawnT

                    So it was a form of over sauced coleslaw with pickle?

                    1. re: DawnT

                      I just asked the OP what flavors and textures they preferred.... maybe you meant to respond to the OP.

                  2. I've always considered relish an integral part of tartar sauce. Around here most people use sweet relish, although I've been told that dill relish is traditional. Some of the fancier places are starting to use chopped cornishons now. I didn't know anyone made it without pickles, you learn something new everyday and I'm off to an early start.

                    1. I just made some for tonight and for me tartar sauce has to have tarragon or at the very least cornichons which I guess are pretty tarragonny. Also capers, greens onion and parsley. I do half mayo half yogurt/sour ream but I know that's controversial.... So its fairly similar to the one mentioned above in Fish Without a Doubt.

                      1. I Googled the Luby's recipe. I hope the sauce is good, the grammar was terrible! hehe Thanks for all the responses.

                        1. Best tarter sauce ever is at No Name in Boston. They overload with pickle chunks just the way I like it. So my personal preference is this way...... you can jazz it up any way you want with lemon and capers etc but make it about half pickles and I'll like it. Goopy 90% mayonnaise tarter sauce is disgusting to me. You are piling oil on top of oil (fried fish)

                          Matter of fact I could eat some fried fish just with sliced pickle on the side and it would be almost as good as pickle laden tarter sauce

                          1. I use a recipe from Bon Appetit (January 1999) that I think is really great. It does use jarred mayo but there is also fresh lemon juice, fresh parsley, dill pickle, capers, green onion, dijon, tarragon, worcestershire and a dash of hot sauce. In tartar sauce fresh lemon juice and tarragon are a must for me. After reading the previous posts about homemade mayo I might have to try to make my own!


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lisaoceancity

                              I use either mayo or miracle whip, depending on what I have and sweet relish with the Mayo and dill relish with Miracle Whip, and always use prepared horseradish, like cajun. Lemon juice, worchestershire, finely chopped onion and a little tabasco, etc...

                            2. My favorite Tartar sauce starts with Best Foods Mayo, Farman's Genuine dill pickles, lots of white minced onion, a clove of garlic and salt and pepper.

                              1. Personally I like to make a spicy remoulade to serve with fish - it's a tangier cousin of tartar sauce. If you (and your family) like spicy, you'll love this, and it's dead easy to make. Just combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp chopped pickled jalapeƱos, and a tsp of your favorite hot sauce (I use Melinda's XXXtra Hot Habanero).

                                1. I agree on spicy. The reason I use the FP to make mayonnaise is because I can drop in a couple of chipotles.