Mayonnaise Is Your Ticket To Stop Fish From Drying Out

Unless you're preparing a whole fish, which does take a little more time because of the size, fish is a fantastic pick when you're looking to plate up some lean protein in a hurry. Whether you're baking or pan-searing or grilling, whether you're working with a salmon or sole fillet, fish typically cooks fairly quickly, especially in comparison to many other proteins.

However, while this is a perk for the time-pressed, it can also be a bit of a cooking challenge. Since fish doesn't require much time to cook, it's consequently quite easy to overcook. And, overcooked fish loses its moist, flaky texture, becoming chewy, dry, and overall unpleasant to eat.

While you might be accustomed to coating your fish with a layer of oil or butter in order to retain as much moisture as possible, there's another condiment you shouldn't be overlooking in the quest for flawlessly moist fish — mayonnaise. Since oil is one of the primary components of mayonnaise, that certainly helps with the moisture. However, since mayonnaise is an emulsion, it actually sticks to the surface of your fish much better than regular oil would, ensuring all that moisture remains locked in. And, it works equally well whether you're working with frozen or fresh fish (we also have some hacks for best results when you're cooking the latter), so you can give it a shot with whatever fish you're planning to cook. 

Other reasons mayonnaise should be your secret weapon

Though it may seem an odd pairing, mayonnaise has a subtle flavor that won't overpower the delicate flavor of your fish itself. In fact, it might even enhance your fish's flavor thanks to a little something called the Maillard reaction.

While regular oil is all fat, mayonnaise has both proteins and sugars, which are necessary for the flavorful chemical reaction. Consequently, you'll get that browning that contributes to food's appearance, aroma, and flavor, helping to seriously level up your fish. Plus, the thick texture of mayonnaise makes it a great vehicle for any other flavorings you want to brush on your fish's surface — rather than sliding off if things get too hot and the fat melts or drips off, they'll remain in the mix, imparting all those flavor notes into your final dish.

Finally, if you struggle with your fish sticking to your cooking surface, mayonnaise will be a game changer in that regard as well. Many swear by the way it prevents the delicate protein from adhering to grill grates or even your hot pan. Plus it has a high smoking point, so you don't have to worry about smoking or burning if you opt to crank up the heat.