Understanding The Miracle Of Marinade

Turn Simple Into Spectacular With Marinaded Meats

The holiday season is upon us, and we’re busy coating everything with a primer of celebration. While the meats and seafood at Licious are meant to make every day a special occasion, here are a few things to keep in mind while marinating to add a little pizazz to your holiday special menu.

First, let’s understand what a marinade is?

The basic ingredients of a good marinade can be categorised into three buckets – acid, oil (or fat), and seasoning. Acidic components like citrus juices, wine, and vinegar – and/or enzymes like yoghurt, milk, and honey work wonderfully when combined with oil or fat and the right kind of seasoning. The power of the three-component marinade is truly unbeatable once you get the combination right. While most marinades consist of salt and oil as key ingredients, the range of flavours is limitless when it comes down to sheer culinary creativity.

Let’s further understand the three components that make up a terrific marinade.

  1. Acid or enzymes help create a foundation for great flavours and also to tenderize the meat.
  2. Fat and oil further intensify the flavours and prevents over-cooking and ensures that the meat doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or grill.
  3. Seasoning (with salt, herbs and spices) adds more flavour to your dish.

How to marinate the different kinds of meats and seafood?

An easy way to evaluate the time it takes to marinate any kind of meat is to understand the density of it. Lean meat easily absorbs the marinade and thus, it takes less time to be prepped for cooking. Similarly, the richer your meat the more time it takes to marinate.

Seafood and shellfish take approximately 15-30 minutes of marinating time, meanwhile chicken, lamb or goat should ideally sit in the marinade for about 6- 12 hours. However, don’t fret about the time if you’re short on it, because marination is simply a process of enhancing flavours and tenderizing it. So, marinate the meat for as long as you can, just don’t skip this step altogether.

Using marinade as a sauce.

Marination is not just a pre-cook step, but some delicious marinades can also double as a sauce or dip. But here’s the tricky part – never use the left-over marinade as a sauce as the raw meat or seafood will leave behind some harmful bacterias that shouldn’t be consumed as is.

If you intend to serve some marinade as a sauce or dip, just set aside some of it before you add the meat to it. Alternatively, you can go ahead and cook the left-over marinade for about 2-3 minutes before serving it.

Now, that’s not all. We have some bonus tips for easy and effective marination.

Tip 1: When using rich meat, tenderize the meat with a fork or knife before marinating it. Poke holes or simply make fine cuts so that the meat can absorb as much flavour as possible.

Tip 2: Wrap it up in a plastic bag or a non-reactive container such as stainless steel. Stay clear of aluminium because it reacts with the acid and alters the flavour and colour of the food.

Tip 3: Last, but not least, refrigerate and marinate in a closed container so that it locks in all the flavours and stays fresh while it marinates.

Note: Keep in mind that marination cuts down on the cooking time as well, so when you’re working with marinated meats and seafood, always have your eye on the pan or grill to ensure it doesn’t overcook.

Cooking is a delicate dance between calculation and intuition and a good cook skirts around the edge. Marination, on the other hand, is like a balancing act, like walking on a tightrope – with some practice and experience, you can walk the rope blindfolded.

This holiday season, believe in the power of great marination. Order your favourite meats and seafood, and have yourself a lovely, meaty party!

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