All in a Marinade: Learn the In's and Out's of Marinades + 2 Marinade Recipes
When you think of a marinade, what do you think? My mind instantly goes to Summer BBQs or some kind of baked chicken dish. What is a marinade though? A marinade is a sweet or savory, usually acidic sauce commonly used for meat, fish, and vegetables. You can easily make your own marinade at home or choose from one of the many options available at the store. If you choose store bought I recommend reading the labels as they often hide unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients. Marinating your meat is beneficial as it always results in a more flavorful and tender dish. The acid component breaks down the meat and allows the flavor to be absorbed all throughout and ensures the meat doesn't dry out during its cooking process. It is absolutely essential to marinate certain meats like Pork Loins and Chicken Breasts as these cuts lose moisture much faster than other cuts. Before I share some simple homemade recipe options for marinades, let's dive deeper into the history of marinating, who first thought of it and why.
Many people are under the assumption that marinating your food started just a few hundred years ago somewhere in Europe, however it has been discovered that the idea actually originated in ancient Egypt. Asians have also used soy sauce as a marinade for centuries. The Romans used marinades, just enough to add taste to their dishes which at the time mainly consisted of vegetables. Somewhere in the 13th century is when the French caught on and started marinating their food, however here in the United States, the concept didn't take off until the 1800s when bottled marinades first hit the shelves.
Specific ingredients used in marinating have often varied, being influenced by the country they originate from as well as by whomever prepares them. The process of marination can last anywhere from just a few minutes to lasting days. Poultry and seafood often need shorter marinating times to prevent the acidic content from turning the meat to mush, a rule of thumb is 1 hour for these meats. Other choices of meat like lamb, do best with a 24 hour time cap on marinating.
All Purpose Marinade Recipe Tender Steak Marinade
¾ cup olive oil ½ cup olive oil
½ cup soy sauce ⅓ cup soy sauce
¼ cup worcestershire sauce ¼ cup worcestershire sauce
¼ cup balsamic vinegar Juice of one lemon
Juice from ½ of a lemon 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic
2 tbsp Dijon mustard 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 cloves minced garlic 1 ½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped 1 tsp of ground pepper