Three Simple, Amazing Marinades!
This post was written by guest blogger – Yvonne Smythe
Get your memorial weekend off to a delicious start with some simple marinating options. A wise woman told me that a good marinade shouldn’t hide the flavor of a food, but enhance it. Keeping this in mind, the mixture of ingredients should complement each other to create a taste that is both subtle yet pleasing to the taste buds.
There are three basic components for a marinade: oil (to keep in the moisture of the meat or vegetables of choice, as well as to hold the spices together), acid (to tenderize), and herbs and spices (to flavor and enrich a food). The ratio of oil to acid depends on the individual, although I tend to be closer to a 1.5:1 ratio or 2:1 ratio depending on whether the acid I’m using is lemon, orange, red wine vinegar, or the like.
When using citrus fruits as my acid base, I prefer using fresh lemons, limes, and oranges. I juice them as I need them because I find the freshly squeezed citrus fruit results in a more flavorful marinade. Pineapple and papaya juice are fantastic ideas for red meat marinades because red meat tends to be a bit tougher, and the bromelain (in pineapple) and papain (in papaya) are protein-digesting enzymes naturally existing in these fruits, resulting in a more tenderly cooked meat.
For all of my marinades, I mix the ingredients in a glass jar, and then I pour the mixture into a large, sealable plastic Ziploc. This allows for more surface area to be covered for whatever food I’m marinating, so less oil and acid-containing ingredients are usually needed than if I use a glass container. I place the bag in the fridge until the food is ready to be cooked.
Logically, the longer meat or vegetables bask in a marinade, the more infusion will occur. Leaving a dish to marinade overnight is easiest. I would marinade meat for a minimum of 3 hours, but as much as 6-8 would be alright. I don’t tend to marinate vegetables as long, but at least an hour (ideally 3) to really allow them to soak thoroughly. If I’m using glass to soak the foods in rather than a Ziploc, I’ll flip them over half way through the process in order to fully baste them.
Another easy tip is to pierce the meat and vegetables with a fork in order to aid in the infusion of the flavors with the food being prepared.
So, give these delicious and simple marinades a try this long weekend and dazzle your friends and family!
- 1 ¼ cup sesame oil
- 1 ½ Valencia oranges (yields about ¾ cups of juice)
- 1 ½ tsp basil
- 1 tbsp gomasio (roasted sesame seeds with sea salt)
- Sea salt (to taste)
Ideal for 2-3 lbs of chicken
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sage
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp paprika
Ideal for 2-3 lbs of beef
- ¾ - 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½ lemons (yields about 1 cup of juice)
- 1 tbsp dill
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 garlic cloves
- Sea salt to taste
Ideal for 2-3 Portobello mushrooms and 2 zucchinis
What is your favorite marinade? Please share your delicious recipe in the comments below.