Marinade

Marinade

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

A seasoned liquid used to marinate food before or after cooking so that it will absorb flavour and/or become more tender. The term ‘to marinate’ is used for meats, game, poultry, fish and vegetables; for fruits, the term ‘macerate’ is used when steeping in sugar, liqueurs or spirits.

The first marinades were simple brines, used for preserving fish – the word stems from the same root as the word ‘maritime’. In modern usage a marinade consists of oil, an acid (lemon juice, wine or vinegar) and spices or aromatics. As the food stands in the marinade, the oil and aromatics impart flavour and the acid tenderises.

A marinade may be cooked or uncooked, and is used with a large cut of meat for dishes like sauerbraten, or cubes of meat or poultry or tender steaks for grilling (broiling) or pan-frying.

As a marinade usually contains an acid, marinating food should be kept in a glass or glazed china dish. Never use aluminium or porous containers such as some pottery. Use a wooden spoon for stirring or turning the food. Marinate food in containers just large enough to hold the food and cover them with the marinade. Keep marinating foods covered and under refrigeration if they are to steep for more than 1 hour.

Higher temperatures hasten marinating but care must be taken in hot climates as high temperatures also hasten bacterial action. A marinade is powerful – do not marinate too long or use too many herbs and spices or you may destroy the food’s own flavour. Frequent basting or turning the food in the marinade assures equal penetration of flavours and helps the tenderising process. As a general rule, a whole piece of meat may be marinated for 2–3 days for a ‘gamey’ taste, but otherwise marinate overnight. Cubes of food or small steaks or cutlets need only be marinated for 2–3 hours.

To cook with marinades: After food has been marinated, drain it and dry with paper towels. Keep marinade as it may be used in the cooking. Stews and pot roasts are often cooked with some of the marinade – it is a good idea to dilute it with stock or water before adding it to the meat.

Part of a marinade may also be used to baste marinated meat during roasting or grilling, or a spoonful may be added to a gravy or sauce.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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