Are you a seafood lover who enjoys dipping your fish and chips in a creamy sauce? If so, you’ve likely encountered both horseradish and tartar sauce.
While they may look similar, these two condiments have distinct differences in flavor and ingredients. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of horseradish and tartar sauce, their nutritional values, and the variations in their recipes.
So, let’s dive in and find out if horseradish and tartar sauce are the same thing!
Is Horseradish And Tartar Sauce The Same Thing?
Horseradish and tartar sauce are not the same thing. While both are creamy, mayonnaise-based sauces, they have different flavor profiles and ingredients.
Horseradish sauce is made from grated horseradish root, vinegar, and sour cream or mayonnaise. It has a sharp, pungent flavor with a slightly spicy kick. It’s often used as a condiment for roast beef or as a dip for vegetables.
On the other hand, tartar sauce is made from mayonnaise, chopped pickles or relish, capers, and herbs such as tarragon and dill. It has a tangy flavor with a hint of sweetness and is most commonly used as a dip for seafood dishes like fish and chips.
The Origins Of Horseradish And Tartar Sauce
The origins of horseradish and tartar sauce can be traced back to different parts of the world. Horseradish has been used for culinary purposes for centuries and is believed to have originated in Eastern Europe. It was first used as a medicinal plant before it was used as a condiment. The word “horseradish” comes from the German word “meerrettich,” which means “sea radish.” This name was likely given to the plant because it grows near the sea.
Tartar sauce, on the other hand, has its roots in France. The sauce is named after the Tatars, a group of people from Western Russia and Turkey who once occupied Ukraine and parts of Russia. Legend has it that they ate roughly shredded meat to make it more palatable, which could be the origins of the more refined French classic. The name tartar sauce also bears a resemblance to tarator sauce, a nut or tahini-based sauce that is popular in many Middle Eastern cuisines and is also used to dress fish and other meats.
Horseradish sauce has been commercially available in bottles in the USA since around 1860, while tartar sauce became commercially available in the 1920s once Hellman’s introduced their jarred version to shelves. Today, both sauces are mainstays of the condiment aisle and are enjoyed by people all over the world.
It’s interesting to note that horseradish is richer in Vitamin C, Folate, Fiber, Zinc, and Potassium, while tartar sauce is richer in Vitamin K and Vitamin E. Both sauces can add flavor and depth to a variety of dishes and are versatile condiments that are worth trying out.
The Ingredients In Horseradish And Tartar Sauce
The ingredients in horseradish sauce typically include grated horseradish root, vinegar, and either sour cream or mayonnaise. The horseradish root is the star ingredient, providing the sauce with its distinct sharp and pungent flavor. The vinegar helps to balance out the heat of the horseradish and adds a tangy note to the sauce. Sour cream or mayonnaise is added to give the sauce a creamy texture and mellow out the intense flavor of the horseradish.
Tartar sauce, on the other hand, is made from mayonnaise as a base, which is then mixed with chopped pickles or relish, capers, and herbs such as tarragon and dill. The pickles or relish add a tangy sweetness to the sauce, while the capers provide a briny flavor that pairs perfectly with seafood. The herbs add a fresh note to the sauce and help to balance out the richness of the mayonnaise.
While both horseradish and tartar sauces are creamy condiments used to enhance the flavor of food, they have different flavor profiles and are made with different ingredients. Horseradish sauce has a sharp and spicy flavor, while tartar sauce has a tangy and sweet flavor with a briny note from the capers. It’s important to note that these sauces are not interchangeable in recipes as they have distinct tastes that will affect the overall flavor of the dish.
The Nutritional Value Of Horseradish And Tartar Sauce
When it comes to the nutritional value of horseradish and tartar sauce, there are some differences to consider. A two-tablespoon serving of tartar sauce typically contains about 59 calories and roughly 3.7 grams of carbohydrates. There is just a small amount of fiber (0.1 grams) in tartar sauce, and there are about 1.2 grams of sugar. The serving size of tartar sauce can vary depending on the dish, with a large fish sandwich containing about two tablespoons (28g) and a regular fish sandwich containing half that amount (14g). A packet of tartar sauce from a fast-food restaurant is likely to contain about 12 grams or slightly less than one tablespoon.
In comparison, horseradish sauce is generally lower in calories and carbohydrates. A two-tablespoon serving of horseradish sauce typically contains around 28 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates, with less than 1 gram of sugar and no fiber. However, it’s important to note that horseradish sauce may have higher sodium content due to the use of vinegar as an ingredient.
Both horseradish and tartar sauce are made with mayonnaise as a base, which can be high in fat. However, the glycemic index for both sauces is likely to be low since they are low in carbohydrates and typically consumed in small amounts as condiments or dipping sauces.
Variations In Horseradish And Tartar Sauce Recipes
While horseradish sauce and tartar sauce have their own distinct flavors, there are many variations that can be made to each recipe to create unique and delicious sauces.
For horseradish sauce, some variations include adding mustard for a tangier flavor or honey for a touch of sweetness. Some recipes also call for adding lemon juice or white wine vinegar to balance out the sharpness of the horseradish. For those who like a bit of heat, adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce can give the sauce a spicy kick.
As for tartar sauce, there are many ways to switch up the classic recipe. Some people prefer using dill pickles instead of sweet pickles for a more savory flavor. Others like to add in minced onion or shallots for an extra burst of flavor and texture. Adding in fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or basil can also take the sauce to the next level. For those who like a bit of heat, adding in some chopped jalapenos or red pepper flakes can give the sauce a spicy kick.
Another popular variation for both horseradish and tartar sauce is to use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream. This creates a healthier option with a tangy flavor and creamy texture.
Horseradish Vs. Tartar Sauce: Which Is Best For Your Seafood?
When it comes to pairing seafood dishes with a sauce, the debate between horseradish and tartar sauce is a common one. While both sauces have their own unique taste and texture, the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the type of seafood being served.
Horseradish sauce is a great choice for those who prefer a spicy kick with their seafood. It pairs well with strong-flavored fish like salmon or tuna, adding a zesty flavor that complements the fish’s natural taste. It’s also a great option for those who want to add some heat to their seafood dishes.
On the other hand, tartar sauce is a classic choice for seafood lovers. Its tangy and slightly sweet flavor works well with mild-tasting fish like cod or halibut, adding an extra layer of flavor to the dish. Tartar sauce is also versatile and can be used as a dip or spread for sandwiches.
When it comes down to it, both horseradish and tartar sauce have their own unique benefits and can elevate your seafood dishes in different ways. It’s important to experiment with both sauces to find out which one you prefer and which one works best for the type of seafood you’re serving.