Captain D’s is the ultimate destination for all the batter-dipped fish and seafood goodness you could possibly imagine, including catfish and shrimp combo, Southern-style white fish, and fried oysters.
However, what seems to be an absolute hit on their menu, besides the delicious fresh fish and seafood specialties, is their unique tartar sauce that takes every single recipe to the next level.
Tartar sauce is a condiment that has numerous variations, but Captain D’s seems to be truly unforgettable.
Keep on reading to learn how to make your homemade tartar sauce just like the one you’d get at Captain D’s!
How to make Captain D’s tartar sauce
Tartar sauce is a world-famous condiment for a reason – or a few reasons, to be exact.
It is extremely versatile, and you can pair it with pretty much any dish, whether it be grilled veggies, or meat dishes including steaks and burgers, fries, or sausages.
However, combining it with fried fish and seafood simply feels natural, as it neutralizes the somewhat overpowering, complex fish aroma, and adds the much-needed refreshing note.
While tartar sauce is essentially a simple sauce with only a few ingredients, and it takes only a few minutes to make, everyone seems to have their own secret ingredient and/or method when it comes to making this condiment.
Since we all know just how good Captain D’s tartar sauce is, let’s get right into the ingredients, as well as the best way to replicate this tartar sauce recipe at home.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 2-3 tbsp finely chopped dill pickle
- 2 tsp finely chopped dill weed
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- salt (to taste, if necessary)
In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped pickles, as well as chopped dill weed.
Give this mixture a good stir, and ensure that all the ingredients are mixed well.
Season the tartar sauce with pepper, then taste it and check if you need to add any salt.
Depending on the mayonnaise brand you’re using, you may need to add a pinch of salt, or skip this step altogether.
Cover the mixing bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, then transfer it to the fridge and allow it to rest for at least an hour before serving.
It is necessary for the sauce to rest in the fridge for all the ingredients and seasonings to marry together and create a fusion of flavors and aromas.
This step will also help with the texture of the sauce, as it will thicken up slightly.
Serve your homemade Captain D’s tartar sauce as a dipping sauce on the side, or spread it on your dish of choice.
When it comes to straightforward, simple recipes such as tartar sauce, it may seem that there isn’t much room for experimenting with different ingredients.
However, there are certain tweaks and additions you can make if you’d like to adjust this copycat Captain D’s recipe to your personal preferences.
Keep on reading to discover the best alternatives you could use in your tartar sauce.
1. Sour cream
If you’re not too fond of mayonnaise, or you’d like to combine it with something to give this sauce a more refreshing note, sour cream is the answer.
Sour cream can also provide the necessary consistency for this dipping sauce.
We recommend combining sour cream and mayo in a 1:1 ratio for best results.
However, if you find that the flavor of the mayonnaise is still too intense for you, you can add more sour cream.
2. Lemon zest
In case you find that lemon juice is making the consistency of your tartar sauce too runny, you can replace it with lemon zest.
This fruit zest will provide an identical citrusy, acidic aroma and flavor while adding a hint of tartness and bitterness to the mixture.
The two tablespoons of lemon juice listed in this recipe can be substituted with a single teaspoon of lemon zest since it is quite intense.
3. Lime juice
Yet another convenient replacement for lemon juice in this Captain D’s tartar sauce recipe is lime juice.
There are essentially no significant differences between lemon juice and lime juice.
Both of these options will brighten up the sauce, and also help with achieving the right consistency of the mixture.
4. Sweet pickle relish
Sweet pickle relish is the best substitute for dill pickle in your tartar sauce, as it provides the same level of sweetness and acidity.
It is also a great textural component for a dipping sauce.
When it comes to both texture and flavor, there is little to no difference between dill pickle and sweet relish.
5. Fresh fennel
All out of dill weed? As long as you’re using dill pickle in your tartar sauce, you can replace the dill weed with similar herbs, such as fresh fennel.
Just like dill, fennel is very fresh, vegetal, bright, and licorice – which is exactly what a deep-flavored sauce requires.
In addition to fennel, you can also add fresh parsley or dried basil if you’re a fan of the herbal, vegetal aroma in your dipping sauces.
6. Garlic powder
If you don’t appreciate the peppery note in your sauces, you can skip black pepper altogether, and perhaps replace it with garlic powder.
Garlic powder is a beautiful addition to tartar sauce, especially if you’re serving it with fish and seafood – since we all know that garlic complements fish perfectly.
What to serve with Captain D’s tartar sauce
The true beauty, and perhaps the secret behind the popularity of tartar sauce, is the fact that there seems to be no savory dish this condiment cannot be paired with.
That being said, you don’t have to limit yourself to fried fish and seafood, even though this particular tartar sauce is served with Captain D’s fish specialties.
Whether it be grilled shrimp, fried oysters, or any other type of seafood you prefer, Captain D’s tartar sauce will be the only condiment you will serve with your seafood from now on.
Tartar sauce is the best choice for a seafood dipping sauce, as it brings out the beautiful aromas and complements the dish without taking over, which is extremely important when choosing a condiment.
Whether it be catfish, white fish, or sea bass – tartar sauce is the ultimate choice of a dipping sauce.
It is acidic enough to neutralize the overpowering fishy aroma, yet subtle enough to let the true flavors of the fish shine through.
On top of it all, tartar sauce is so easy to make that it will take just a few minutes of your time, so you can focus on preparing the fish, especially the more complex dishes such as the deep-fried beer-battered fish.
Aside from being a delicious dipping sauce, tartar sauce is also a very convenient, flavorful condiment for your fish sandwich.
Spread the sauce onto the bun, then add your fried fish or fish strips, and finally top it off with some diced onion, fresh parsley, and malt vinegar for an extra kick of acidity.
As we’ve mentioned, you don’t have to limit yourself to fish and seafood dishes when it comes to this Captain D’s tartar sauce.
Instead of the regular mayo, try adding a generous amount of tartar sauce to your homemade beef burger. You can also serve it as a dipping sauce for your fries.
How to store Captain D’s tartar sauce
Since there is no cooking involved, tartar sauce doesn’t have to be heated up when you’re serving it.
This makes storing tartar sauce just as easy as preparing it, as you don’t have to leave it at room temperature before storing it in the fridge.
However, since it contains mayo, ensure that you’re keeping the tartar sauce in the fridge.
Store in the fridge
Place the leftover tartar sauce in a pickling jar or an airtight container, and make sure it is properly sealed with a lid.
Keep the homemade tartar sauce in the fridge for no longer than 2 weeks.
As soon as you notice it has developed an odd smell or a different color, discard the sauce.
We wouldn’t recommend freezing your tartar sauce, as this would alter the texture of the sauce significantly.
After all, it is so easy making a new batch anytime you’re craving fresh tartar sauce that there is no need for freezing it in the first place.
Captain D’s Tartar Sauce Recipe
- Cutting board
- mixing bowl
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2-3 tbsp dill pickle finely chopped
- 2 tsp dill weed finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- TT salt optional
- In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped pickles, as well as chopped dill weed.Give this mixture a good stir, and ensure that all the ingredients are mixed well.
- Season the tartar sauce with pepper, then taste it and check if you need to add any salt.Depending on the mayonnaise brand you're using, you may need to add a pinch of salt, or skip this step altogether.
- Cover the mixing bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, then transfer it to the fridge and allow it to rest for at least an hour before serving.It is necessary for the sauce to rest in the fridge for all the ingredients and seasonings to marry together and create a fusion of flavors and aromas.This step will also help with the texture of the sauce, as it will thicken up slightly.
- Serve your homemade Captain D's tartar sauce as a dipping sauce on the side, or spread it on your dish of choice.
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