Marinades 101

I asked for some suggestions from friends about what they'd like to learn more about so the upcoming posts will include topics on those suggestions. This one is actually based on Marisa's facebook status last week about marinades. What can I say I was inspired.

First, let's go over the basics-including the things that are not so obvious. Marinades are usually used for one of two reasons: (1) to tenderize meat and (2) to add flavor to meat. You can also marinate vegetables- a great idea if you are grilling or roasting them. A marinade usually consists of three components:an acid-lemon juice/vinegar/wine, a fat-usually oil, and seasoning-herbs/spices. Fresh herbs are really nice because they give such a great and different flavor from dried herbs. Usually I will chop fresh herbs but sometimes I will also add a sprig of that same herb into the bag or dish I'm using to marinate something.

Let's move on to setting up the marinade. I personally like to use large ziplock bags and always place a sheetpan or casserole dish underneath in case of leakage. I like to whisk up the marinade-starting with the acid and other flavorings and adding the oil in last. (This is the same way I would make a vinaigrette as well.) Then I pour the marinade into the bag and add the protein. Generally 6-8 hours is a good amount of time for beef, lamb or pork. For chicken, 4-6 hours is a good guideline. For fish 1-2 hours and shrimp 30 minutes-1 hour.

Now for the recipes:
These come from Williams-Sonoma and are really basic. They use food processors or blenders but I would use a whisk.
You can use this one for chicken, pork or steak. It's a little bit on the sweet side.

Balsamic Rosemary Marinade

For seafood and chicken, you can't go wrong with a citrus and garlic marinade.

Citrus Marinade




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Culinary school grad figuring out how to cook for two people semi-healthy. After learning how to cook in huge batches with tons of butter and salt, this proves to be a challenge. Learning how to be a wife and homeowner.