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Taste test: Tartar sauce

Fish is on the dinner menu at our house at least twice a week. If we are lucky, it's fresh off my husband's boat from a successful fishing trip. Even if it's not, being surrounded by water makes fish familiar fare in Florida. If possible, I blend my own sauce to slather on fish sandwiches or fish filets. But it's always nice to have handy a bottle of tartar sauce just in case pickles, capers and fresh mayonnaise aren't in the fridge. Our judges tasted 10 different brands of storebought tartar sauce in search of a few options for their pantries.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Hellmann's 79Trader Joe's 55Louisiana Fish Fry 42

This popular mayonnaise maker produced a thick and attractive sauce that appealed to all of our panelists. "It's red flecked, with pickles, and tangy with a little heat," said one judge. She also appreciated the "nice balance of sweet and creamy." Another said he liked the "good consistency and tasteful mayo base" of the sauce. The relish in this sauce also seemed very fresh to our judges. "I can taste this on a fried grouper sandwich with a giant slice of cheese," said one panelist."This white mayo was thick with big dots of green and orange," said one judge who liked the zesty flavor. "I like the hint of sweetness with the tang," she added. "I would serve this on fried or baked seafood," said another judge. "It's a great, all-around relish."Golden hues and thin texture set this tartar sauce apart from some of the competition. "I like the pleasant mayo-to-pickle balance," said one judge. "It's homemade tasting and eggy in a good way." Another said he liked the sauce but would add more relish to give it a thicker consistency. "I would spread a thin layer of this on a piece of fish before I put it in the oven," he added. "It's got a nice, tart flavor that would give the dish a little kick."

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.49 for an 11.5-ounce bottle from Publix.$1.99 for an 8-ounce jar.$2.99 for a 10.5-ounce bottle from Publix.

Also Sampled: Kraft ($2.39 for a 12-ounce bottle from Publix, 39 points); the Fresh Market ($2.49 for an 8-ounce bottle, 26 points); House Autry ($2.39 for a 10.25-ounce bottle from Winn-Dixie, 15 points); and Thomas Fish Camp ($2.49 for a 12-ounce bottle from the Fresh Market, 14 points); Bennetts ($3.59 for a 10.5-ounce bottle from Publix, 11 points).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Jill Dunn, Realtor for Yes-Homes; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving size2 tablespoons2 tablespoons2 tablespoons
Fat/Fiber6g / 0g14g / 0g14g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 290mg1g / 270mg3g / 160mg
Carbs/Protein4g / 0g2g / 0g3g / 0g

Taste test: Tartar sauce 08/01/16 [Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2016 12:11pm]
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