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Fancy Up Your Fish Filet Sandwiches with Julia Child’s Sauce Tartare

Sauce Tartare

Oh, my goodness! It has been so long since my last post. So, what have I been doing? Well, trying to stay on top of my life; I had to clean the house for a cooking demonstration, which took about a week since it’s been a long, long time since the last big clean, I changed the living room into the library and painted the walls kelly green and dyed the curtains hot pink, I actually have real work to work on which is kind of important, I drew up an addition to my local food bank, we took the kids to Palm Springs/ Disneyland for President’s Day weekend…and the list goes on. It’s good to be home.

So, I’m back to the never ending dilemma of what to feed the Wilsons during the week. Some nights with tennis practice, rowing, and basketball practice, all that can be achieved are sandwiches or for that matter sandwiches from Subway. Tonight fish fillet  sandwiches made from frozen fish fillets, a slice of cheddar and processed white buns were on the menu, but to appease my conscience I thought I would make my own tartar sauce. I am blessed to have worked at McDonald’s in my youth so I have the fillet of fish sandwich assembly down pat. Luckily, I have a Mom from the sixties who gave me all of her old Julia Child cookbooks. I found a recipe for tartar sauce or Sauce Tartare as Julia would say in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I must admit – I didn’t do something right. The sauce did not emulsify for me into a mayonnaise type of consistency, but it was still scrumptious, just a bit runny. The mustard and the egg yolks turned it yellow, unlike the chalky white American tartar sauce we typically see.  It was so good I decided to make myself some egg salad using the same seasonings of chopped pickle, capers, dill, tarragon along with mustard and mayonnaise. My new favorite sandwich filling!

Sauce Tartare

from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child


  • 3 hard boiled egg yolks
  • 1 T. prepared mayonnaise
  • 1 cup oil
  • wine vinegar or lemon juice as needed
  • 3-4 T. minced dill pickle
  • 3-4 T. minced capers
  • 2-4 T. minced fresh green herbs (I used dill and tarragon)
  • Optional: 2-3 sieved hard boiled egg whites

Cooking Directions:

  1. Julia says do not use a blender.
  2. Pound and mash the eggs with the mustard and salt until you have a smooth paste. No lumps allowed or the oil will not be absorbed.
  3. Beat the oil in by droplets at first until the sauce has thickened, then you can add a more steady stream. If you need to thin it add some lemon juice or vinegar.
  4. Twist the minced pickles and capers into a ball in the corner of a towel to extract their juice. Beat them gradually into the sauce. Then beat in the herbs and finally the option egg whites.
  5. Correct seasoning as needed.



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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Joan Robinett Wilson May 2, 2017, 12:42 pm

    :), you are so much smarter than me…I didn’t think to check the spelling on lobster “tamale/tomalley”….I still don’t think my palate is ready to add it to the sauce!

  • L March 4, 2017, 11:33 pm

    I was confused about adding tamale to sauce tartare, until I realized you are adding the tomally from the lobster, which is its liver. I bet that does make it tasty!

  • Joan Robinett Wilson March 25, 2014, 3:41 pm

    Interesting! I would have never thought to add the green tamale…I don’t know if I’m as adventurous as you :)

  • diego rivera March 16, 2014, 7:05 pm

    I see my reply is a tad late but….i just recently made a julia child recipe for cold lobster from an episode of her show on youtube. She made a sauce for the lobster that used the green tamale from the lobster. It looked interesting and i thought i had to try it….it ended up tasting almost exactly like the best tartar sauce i ever had. The lobster tamale gave it an “ocean-y” flavor, but if you leave that out, the ingredients are: mayo, parsley, chives, capers, dijon, and lemon juice. Watch the julia child lobster video on youtube to eyeball the proportions since she doesn’t give exact measurements.

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