As I begin to transition to vacation my thoughts turn to those regional delights that taste best eaten in open-air, sitting by the shore. Fish and chips, lobster, fried clams, steamers and the rest. Condiments shouldn’t be overlooked. Pure, rich drawn butter for the lobster, fresh, tart lemon for the raw oysters and the sour tarter sauce for that just caught ocean fish.
Tarter sauce’s major component is mayonnaise which came about in the mid-1700s. It is named after the Tatars who ravaged Eastern Europe in the 1800’s. These Turkic-speaking people settled in Mongolia during the 5th century A.D. Beef Tartare was usually served as it is now, with a bevy of garnishes, including a piquant sauce with a mayonnaise base that came to be called sauce Tartare or Tarter Sauce. So why aside for the naming after their clan why ‘tartar’. We’re getting there…this group of people would place cuts of steak under their saddles to tenderized. After a day’s journey the steak was not eaten raw (contrary to popular understanding) but minced and fried or boiled.
This version of tarter is a bit like me–one part East Coast one part West Coast. I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks wandering from Westport to Cape Cod with many audiobooks, paperbacks looking for a lobster shack or two.
Chipolte Tarter Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cornichons, pickles or relish (drained)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies
Mix all ingredients together. Let chill in fridge for 30 minutes for flavors to come together.