Re: tartar sauce recipe
Here you go. Tartar sauce is in the family of sauces whose mother sauce is mayonnaise. So, first you need the mother sauce.
Yield: about 2-1/2 cups
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 t. mild Dijon mustard (and **not** Grey Poupon)
1 T. terragon vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice.
1/4 t. salt, or more (to taste)
1/4 t. freshly ground white pepper, or more (to taste). You can also use black pepper, but the finished sauce will be flecked with pepper.
2 c. relatively neutral oil: grapeseed, peanut or extra-virgin olive oil. I use either straight grapeseed or equal parts grapeseed and olive oil.
Note: all ingredients should be at room temperature.
1. Whisk the egg yolks together with the mustard, vinegar salt and pepper.
2. Keep whisking briskly and very slowly add the oil. Pour the oil in slowly a tablespoon or less at a time at first, whisking rapidily and continuously. As the sauce begins to thicken and emulsify, add the oil in a steady stream, whisking continuously until 2 cups have been incorporated.
3. Adjust the seasonings to taste. If the mayonnaise is very thick, whisk in more vinegar or warm water in small amounts. For greater volume, or a thicker sauce, whisk in more oil.
The whole process shouldn't take more than 10 minutes or so. You can also make mayonnaise in a food processor, but the finished texture is significantly different.
- Raymond Sokolov notes, in his classic The Saucier's Apprentice, that one should whisk 2 tablespoonfuls of so of boiling water in to the finished mayonnaise, so as to set it and prevent the emulsion from breaking. I've never tried it (homemade mayonnaise, in my experience doesn't last long enough for this to be a worry ).
- If your emulsion breaks, here's how to fix it:
Put an egg yolk or teaspoon of vinegar, mustard or hot water in a clean bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the broken sauce and whisk together until smooth. Continue to add the broken sauce, one teaspoonfull at a time, whisking until smooth after each. When the fresh emulsion starts to thicken, you can add the broken sauce faster, whisking constantly until the mayonnaise is restored.
Once you've got your mother sauce together, the mayonnaise, the daughter sauces are easy: you pretty much just whisk stuff into the mayonnaise.
Some of the classic daughter sauces of mayonnaise include:
- Sauce Verte. Grind watercress, parsley, terragon and spinach into a paste in a mortar and whisk into the mayonnaise. Amount and proportions are to taste.
- Sauce La Varenne. A puree of fresh mushrooms whisked into mayonnaise.
- Sauce Gribiche. Mince hard-boiled eggs, tiny French sour gherkins, capers and shallots. Whisk into mayonnaise.
- Sauce Tartare. Mince parsley, chives, chervil and tiny French sour gherkins. Whisk into mayonnaise.
- Sauce Russe. Good caviar, whisked into mayonnaise.
Note: You'll find the "tiny French gherkins" in a good grocery or speciality store labelled as "cornichons", usually from the French brand Maille. They're tiny, about 1/2 inch in diameter and 1–1/2 to 2 inches long, packed with whole mustard seeds and tiny pearl onions in straight vinegar, no salt. Really no substitute for the cornichons.
Julia Child's recipe for Tartar Sauce is something of an amalgamam of classic Sauce Gribiche and classic Sauce Tartare:
Julia Child's Tartar Sauce
yield: about 2 cups
1-1/2 c. mayonnaise. If homemade, the mayonnaise should be at room temperature, lest the emulsion break when whisked.
2–3 T. capers
4-5 tiny French sour gherkins (cornichons)
2 hard-boiled eggs
3 T. minced, fresh herbs, such as parsley, terragon and chives
Seasonings: salt, freshly ground white pepper, lemon juice, mild Dijon mustard (not Grey Poupon).
Turn the mayonnaise into a bowl. Mince the capers and cornichons; twist them into a ball in a clean handkerchief or the corner of a towel to squeeze out and discard the juices. Add them to the bowl. Halve the eggs. Sieve the yolks and add to the bowl. Chop the whites and add to the bowl. Add the finely minced herbs to the bowl.
Whisk everything together and season to taste.
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