TASTE

The Secret Ingredient Your Tuna Salad Has Been Missing

04/09/2015 09:24 am ET | Updated Apr 09, 2015
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Tuna fish salad can go very wrong, but done right, it's a comforting classic. Like all food worth arguing over, tuna salad can be made a variety of ways and everyone has a different preference. A lot of people use mayo, others use no mayo at all. Some people add celery, some people even add carrots. Pickles, capers, parsley, onions: the list of ingredients typically added to tuna fish salad is long. One item that might not immediately come to mind, however, is sugar. But here's a little newsflash for you: sugar is the ingredient your tuna salad has been missing.

A recipe in Cook's Country turned one HuffPost Taste editor onto the idea of adding sugar to tuna fish. It called for 1/2 teaspoon sugar for every three 5-ounce cans of solid white tuna in water. It sounds weird, but a touch of sugar cuts the intense, well, fishy flavor of the tuna. It's the same concept as adding a little sweet relish or pickles. If you're partial to pickles or relish, you'll be into the small addition of sugar.

Still not convinced? This video from America's Test Kitchen offers four quick tips for making fish at home. One critical step? Sprinkling a little sugar on a fillet, of course. The sugar helps the fish's surface caramelize at a temperature that's about 100 degrees lower than where the fish's proteins would normally caramelize. This makes for a crispier crust and moister interior. While none of this applies to tuna fish salad, the point is this: sugar and fish aren't enemies. They actually work really well together.

If you're a fan of tuna salad, you've already gotten over its undeniable gross factor, so what's half a teaspoon of sugar? Try it, and let us know what you think!

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