If You’re Having Fish & Chips…

If you’re going to have Fish & Chips, you must have Tartar Sauce to go with it. We are rather picky when it comes to our tartar sauce. You will never… and I mean EVER… find a jar of bought tartar sauce in this house unless a guest brings it. And, if that were the case, it would be going home with them.

We are highly critical of just about every tartar sauce we’ve ever tried. Most, we find, are far too sweet; why is there sugar in tartar sauce, anyway? If they’re not sweet, they’re usually nothing more than mayonnaise and chopped pickles. That’s not tartar sauce.


We have a favourite recipe, one we come back to every single time we make fish and chips (Captain Ben’s, of course!). John has a marvelous old cookbook, The Mystery Chef’s Own Cookbook (published in 1943); it’s falling apart now but is it ever fascinating to read.

004His book contains two tartar sauce recipes. Tartar Sauce No.1 is our go to recipe.


It comes together quickly, it’s tangy and flavourful, it’s the perfect complement to Captain Ben’s Crispy Cod. Incidentally, I used tarragon vinegar that I made last year with tarragon from my back door garden… dead simple to make; the chives, too, are from my garden, the first of this year’s crop. I love that!



Tartar Sauce No. 1

(from The Mystery Chef’s Own Cookbook)

[printable version]

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped green olives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot or young onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon malt, tarragon, or white wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. The sauce can be used immediately but is even better if it’s had a chance for the flavours to develop.