Take The Time To Prep Pickles Before Adding Them To Your Tartar Sauce

Prep work may be tedious, but it's a surefire way to ensure that recipes can be executed to their fullest without a hitch. In the case of tartar sauce, you might be wondering how much prep work is actually necessary. While you could take a few shortcuts when making the condiment from scratch — like whisking the mayonnaise and relish together — we advise against cutting too many corners. After all, taste and texture can be greatly improved when you pay attention to the details, such as properly preparing pickles.

A good tartar sauce should be the perfect amalgamation of subtle sweetness and tart tang. It should be lusciously creamy with some slight crunch, pearly in hue, and speckled with dots of greenery. To avoid crafting a sauce that lacks zest or worse yet, jeopardizes optimal consistency, take a moment to think about the role of the pickles. Freshly chopped or part of a relish, any pickles destined for tartar sauce need to be drained or dried. Doing this will ensure a crisper bite and ensure that sauce won't run the risk of becoming too thin and watery.

The pickle prep steps that can make or break a tartar sauce

Part of pickle prep includes deciding which variety or varieties, will fare best in your recipe. If you prefer a more classic flavor, go with herby dill pickles, mustardy cornichons, or garlicky kosher slices. For a sweeter taste, opt for bread-and-butter renditions. You can even experiment with spiced spears or funky lacto-fermented gherkins. Even refrigerator pickles can be worked into tartar sauce.

After draining, straining, or patting juicy pickles dry, the next important step for a stellar condiment depends on how the pickles are cut. First things first, there's no need to remove the skins. Leaving the pickles intact will account for better color and even amp up texture. Simply, pull out a cutting board and begin chopping. Although you can dice or mince the pickles however you see fit, we recommend giving them a finer chop so that more pieces can be diffused into the sauce. 

As a final word of advice, when adding the chopped pickles to tartar sauce, be gentle. Rather than hastily stirring them in, crushing tender pieces in the process, delicately fold them into the velvety sauce until well combined. Then, let the condiment chill in the fridge or serve right away alongside your favorite snacks.