Words by Barry Jarvis Photography by Shell Royster
In the warmer months we can rely on a multitude of fresh ingredients to jazz up our menus and excite our palates. Th at’s more of a challenge in our region in the cooler months. Take advantage of stock pantry items combined with a few additional ingredients to coax maximum fl avor out of and into your meals using marinades and the process of marinating.
“To marinate” is to soak meat, poultry, fi sh or other foods in a fl avorful liquid mixture, typically a mixture of oil, an acid, herbs and spices, usually before cooking.
- To marinate is the action, but the marinade is the fl avor booster itself and is a good technique to be familiar with. It allows us to use mainly pantry items, herbs and spices to enhance flavors.
- A marinade can be composed similar to vinaigrette, flavored oil, mustard based or a paste based in garlic, ginger or olives.
- Yogurt and buttermilk are wonderful to use in marinades. You should wipe the excess marinade away before cooking because it can burn easily.
- Olive oil is a common component of marinades. Grapeseed oil is neutral tasting oil that can perform well on the higher heat of the grill or a hot sauté pan.
- You can use a wide range of vinegars and citrus in a marinade. As a general rule the higher the acidity, the shorter the marinade time.
- Seafood and vegetables should be marinated for short times, usually 30 minutes or less, since their texture changes so quickly when exposed to acid.
- If you want to use some of the marinade for a sauce or to whirl into a compound butter, set some aside beforehand.