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Marinades serve two different functions: as a tenderizer and flavor enhancer.

The key ingredients for marinades come in three groups - acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice; oils; and seasonings. A good marinade might have a balanced and varied combination of the three, depending on the type of food and the flavors you want to achieve.

Place meat in a heavy zip-top bag with the air squeezed out and turn it often to be sure all surfaces benefit from the marinade.

Soaking a piece of meat in a marinade will only penetrate just so far into the surface of the meat. If you marinate a large cut of meat in a tenderizing marinade, you end up with a softer exterior and an unaffected center. Puncturing the meat for the marinade to penetrate gives an uneven result, with the further undesirable side effect of allowing the meat to lose even more juices while cooking. Thus, flat cuts of meat benefit most from tenderizing marinades.

When using an acid-based marinade (vinegar, citrus juices), be sure to use only containers made of glass, ceramic or stainless-steel, never aluminum. The chemical reaction produced between alkaline and aluminum not only imparts an unattractive discoloration to the food but can also darken and pit the aluminum container.

 ***Do not be tempted to reuse leftover marinade without first boiling it for a couple of minutes. 

Marinating times:

Fish/seafood: no more than 30 minutes

Chicken: 30 minutes-1 hour

Beef/pork: 12-24 hours

Vegetables: 15-30 minutes

Cheese: 15 minutes

Basic Meat Marinade

1 c olive oil
c soy sauce
c Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
c red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried parsley
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine ingredients and marinate beef/pork 12-24 hours.

Basic Fish Marinade

1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest (opt)
c orange juice
1 T chopped fresh basil, dill or parsley (OR 1 tsp chopped dried basil, dill or parsley)
1 T soy sauce

Combine ingredients and marinate fish no more than 30 minutes.

Basic Chicken Marinade
 c orange juice
 c fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
 c olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh parsley (OR 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
 tsp salt 
 tsp black pepper
Combine ingredients and marinate chicken 30 minutes- 1hour.

Vegetables: can be marinated in any of the above marinades 15-30 minutes.  

Cheeses: can be marinated in any of the above marinades.  Simply toss with marinade and serve.



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