Tartare Sauce

Those who read this blog with any regularity will know that I am a dedicated advocate of making every element of a meal myself. I have tried my hand at tomato ketchup, brown sauce, making my own cheese, mayonnaise… anything and everything in fact – if it can be made in a home kitchen then I will give it a go. It’s not because I am some kind of zealot who treats his body as a temple and refuses to eat anything made in a factory – well, okay, to a large degree I am extremely distrustful of processed food of any kind – but the main reason is that I enjoy making new things, and also because when you make something yourself you can adjust its flavour to make it taste exactly how you want it to. There is also the fact that every time you make something new then you can learn something from it. If you want to become a good cook then whatever else you do there is no substitute for actual cooking.

You might wonder whether it’s worth going to the effort of making something as basic as tartare sauce when there are perfectly acceptable jars of it lining supermarket shelves all around the world. If you’re wondering that then you’re reading the wrong blog! Like everything else that you make by hand, the difference between home-made and shop-bought is like night and day. This is dead easy, quick and inexpensive, and because you will probably have more than you need you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week.


RECIPE – feeds 6 people easily

3 medium large cornichons (pickled gherkins)

1 heaped tbsp capers, drained

4 anchovy fillets in oil, drained

a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks roughly torn

1 lemon, zest and juice

200g mayonnaise

extra-virgin olive oil


Put the cornichons, capers, anchovies, parsley and the zest of the lemon in a food processor (or, at a push, a blender), with half the lemon juice and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Blitz until you have a rough paste, if you like a little more texture in your sauce stop blitzing when it reaches your desired consistency. Add a little more olive oil if necessary.

Put the mayonnaise in a large bowl, then add the blitzed paste to it. Mix well and taste, adding as much of the remaining lemon juice as you wish so that it is as tart as you like it.

I have not specified that you make your own mayonnaise here, that is a blog post that will come in the future. This tastes great with shop-bought mayo, and because you are dealing with such strong flavours there is little benefit to be gained from making your own, unless you want to and then you can brag about it.

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