This homemade tartar sauce is simple, quick, and tastes loads better than store-bought! Bursting with the fresh flavours of lemon, dill, and pickle, this sauce matches perfectly with any kind of fish.
I’m a seafood lover. Having grown up and spent my whole life on the west coast of Canada, it makes perfect sense that I should consider fish and shellfish my equals. Sockeye salmon is my homeboy. But I also adore halibut, shrimp and prawns, scallops, tuna, cod, swordfish, clams… we’ll be here all day if I go on. Let’s just assume they all hold a special place in my heart. But I didn’t always fancy fish this much.
When I was young, mom made salmon and halibut on the regular. When the fresh stuff went on sale at Costco or the supermarket, she would buy up several fillets and stock our freezer. Her way of preparing it was simple: a few tablespoons of melted butter, some lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper were all mixed together and poured over the fillet or steak then it was either baked or barbecued. It may seem basic, but it’s still the way I prepare fish when I need a bite of home. (Although, I usually throw in some chilli flakes as well!)
But, although it’s one of my favourite dishes as an adult, I used to wrinkle my little nose every time salmon was placed in front of me. I hated how long it took me to fix up. I would sit there for ten minutes, slicing through every flake, picking out wayward bones. Then I would smash it up and douse it in Kraft tartar sauce until it tasted like tartar mash. I didn’t want to taste the salmon. The fish was merely a vehicle for getting the tartar sauce to my mouth.
I loved how tangy it was. I’ve always been a huge dill pickle fanatic – to eat sauce mostly devoted to pickles was the dream. So while I wasn’t a fan of salmon, I did partially look forward to fish nights. If only because I had an excuse to dip my potatoes in tartar sauce or “mistakenly” add it to my rice.
While I still have a soft spot for the Kraft tartar sauce, I now much prefer making my own. I like knowing exactly what is in the food I eat, which is why I try and make at home sauces, dips, breads, and other things that I would normally buy. I make my own tzatziki and for a long time I’ve also been making this tartar sauce.
Today I’m sharing this tartar sauce with you all in the hope that you also prefer to know what’s in the food you eat. My recipe is dead simple, takes five minutes to make, and – in my humble opinion – tastes better than the Kraft version. There are only seven ingredients used to make the sauce. It’s super lemony, doused with aniseedy dill weed, and has that dill pickle twang I love.
If you’re planning on having fish this coming week, give this tartar sauce a go. It’ll take you less time to make than it would to whip to the supermarket and buy some. You’re gonna love it. And your fish will too.
Homemade Tartar Sauce
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
- 1/2 dill pickle, finely diced
- salt and pepper to taste
In a small jar, stir together the mayonnaise and lemon juice until combined. Add the dill, parsley, capers, and pickle and stir well. Season with the salt and pepper to your taste.
Alternatively, you can use dried dill and parsley in this sauce, but you will have to halve the fresh measurements.
The tartar sauce will keep refrigerated in a sealed glass jar for up to 1 week.
Are you a fish fan? What’s the best seafood dish you’ve had?