You pull that perfectly juicy steak from the water bath. All that's left between you and heaven is a quick sear to crisp up the crust. We've heard of all the common methods: canola oil, butter, etc. What if we told you there’s a better way? Mayonnaise. Yes. When mayo is suggested an option, people usually stop listening - but before you brush past this method, hear us out.
There are good reasons this popular sandwich spread produces a superior sear. Learn more below and unlock the secrets to some seriously superb sears.
This all started last week at the Anova Kitchen - our experience space at the HQ. We were cooking a whole pile of prime New York Strip steaks and getting ready to sear 'em when we remembered how many people in our Facebook community seemed to love searing with mayonnaise. It goes against what we normally think of when searing. Hot oil and a scorching skillet.
How in the world would our favorite condiment be an option here? Strip mayo down to it's core and it's essentially two things: oil and eggs. Both of these are commonly used in culinary applications for browning. Think egg wash on bread for a golden crust when baking, and so on. So what happens when they get used together? Magic. Maillard reaction magic.
How Does it Work?
For a quick explanation, lets turn to #anovafoodnerd and food scientist Erika Turk: "The protein and sugar in the mayo makes the difference in searing. You also have the emulsification of the oil and egg which means that they’ve already done the work in incorporating water into the oil so it’ll stick to the meat rather than want to repel (the old oil and water issue) like plain oil, and it accelerates the Maillard reaction through a non-enzymatic reaction. Restaurants and the food industry in general have been using this for years and years."
In short: it just works. Super, super well. And we know what you’re gonna say – its gonna taste like mayo. It doesn’t. At all. The mayo as we know it is quickly burned down to the bits that make the sear special.
Lets walk you through it step by step! Oh…and it works for all things, not just steak. If it needs searing, mayo will be your searing angel.