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Recently I’ve been frying some sea bass with salt and different oils.

I noticed when the surface of the Fried fish is more crispy it tastes better and also when I’ve used a saturated fat such as tallow or coconut oil.

When using say olive oil it doesn’t taste as good and seems quite plain.

I’m thinking the taste difference is due to two things:

  1. On some occasions maybe I’m frying long enough and the malliard reaction occurs which creates its own flavour. However I notice the fish can taste more saltier like this. Does Maliard reaction combine with salt for a more flavourful affect or is salt getting cooked into the surface better when the factors which lead to a ballista reaction occur?

  2. It seems the taste of the fish and salt go into coconut oil and tallow better than they do olive oil. Is it something about saturated fats that allow the flavour from fish, meat or salt distribute into the oil better than say olive oil? Or would there be no difference and it would simply be the different oil I’m tasting perhaps in addition to point 1 above?

Thanks

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  • James: question (1) is answerable on this forum; question (2) is a matter of personal opinion and is not. Please edit to focus just on question (1).
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 27, 2021 at 17:38
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    Also ... what's a "ballista reaction"? This is a ballista: users.ece.cmu.edu/~koopman/ballista/defn.html
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 27, 2021 at 17:39
  • It’s possible that cooking with the olive oil a few times would’ve improved it. I’m pretty sure that this was discussed in the book ‘how to read a French fry’, which discusses how certain types of oils, especially when fresh and used for the first time, don’t work so well for frying.
    – Joe
    Oct 28, 2021 at 15:17

1 Answer 1

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Different oils and fats have different tastes. Some may work better or worse with the fish. You may prefer some over others. In addition, as you point out, browning reactions significantly impact flavor. Further, evaporation of water during cooking concentrates salt, again, impacting final flavor. Flavor difference is, of course, objectively definable. However, your preference is your own, and subjective.

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