Cooking Spray Is Your Ticket To Ultra-Crispy Baked Fish

Crispy homemade fish and chips
Crispy homemade fish and chips - Fudio/Getty Images

You can't go wrong with eating more fish if you're trying to pack more protein into your diet without all the saturated fat and climate baggage of red meat. Whether it's salmon, sea bass, or sardines, there's a fish for every meal or occasion. The only drawback is that many people don't feel confident cooking fish at home. This is especially true if you prefer crispy fish because most of us don't own a deep fryer. Fear not, however. You probably have a product on your pantry shelf right now that can make any fish a little extra crispy using only the oven or the air fryer: cooking spray.

Aerosol sprays like Pam have been around for many years, and they've mostly been used for keeping food from sticking to cake pans and grill grates. These products are largely just regular cooking oil mixed with water and food-safe propellants. Thus, there is no reason why you can't spray it on your fish (per The Seattle Times). In fact, just a couple of sprays can replace an entire pan of cooking oil, enabling you to get a homemade fish fry on the table in no time.

Read more: 12 Underrated Types Of Fish You Should Try At Least Once

Spray Your Way To Crispy Fish

Spraying cooking spray
Spraying cooking spray - Unai Huizi Photography/Shutterstock

While it's nice to have a grilled or seared piece of fish, there's no denying that a crispy filet can be delicious, too. Thousands of fish fry joints in the U.S. can't be wrong, and any Catholic can wax poetic about the joys of a good Lenten fish fry in the days leading up to Easter. Frying fish — or any food for that matter — at home can be a pain, however. It can be messy, there's a lot of hot oil to deal with, and it can be loaded with fat and calories in comparison to foods that have been cooked in other ways. This is when cooking spray and a hot oven or air fryer really shine.

All you need to do to get super crispy oven-baked fish is to give it a proper coating of your choice, and then generously spray it on both sides. A basic wet dredge is a great way to lock in the fish's moisture while also creating a tasty outer coating. Try dipping your fish in flour, then egg, then seasoned breadcrumbs. Once you have the fish coated, simply give them a spray and it's off to the oven. It's also a good idea to place your fish on a wire rack in a sheet pan so that the bottom doesn't get soggy or burnt. That technique also allows the fish to cook evenly.

Cooking Spray Is Perfectly Safe To Eat

Crispy breaded fish filets
Crispy breaded fish filets - GK1982/Shutterstock

If you're a little skeptical about using cooking spray directly on your food, don't be. Many of these products don't have their own flavor, and these products are perfectly food-safe versions of regular cooking oil. They're just typically blended with water and a few other ingredients to make them sprayable. Some products contain propellants like butane that are safe in small quantities while other sprays contain things like soy lecithin and dimethyl silicone, which are also safe to eat. A major drawback of sprays that use ingredients like soy lecithin, including Pam, however, is that they've been found to gunk up the mechanisms of air fryers and nonstick surfaces. To avoid that, choose an all-natural spray if you plan to air-fry your fish.

If you're still squeamish, there are also plenty of sprays that don't use chemicals and will work just the same as their more processed counterparts. Be sure to read the back of the bottle before you toss a can in your grocery cart. The key to crispy fish getting a very thin coating of oil on the entire fish, so it really doesn't matter which sprayable oil you choose. Plus, a can of cooking spray can last for months, so if you keep a can on hand you can have crispy fish any day of the week.

Read the original article on Daily Meal