August 30, 2016
Whether you’re preparing meat, seafood or vegetables, a well-made marinade can make all the difference. There are four primary components to any good marinade: Acid, Fat, Herbs + Aromatics, and Spice. Marinades are designed to impart flavor and in the case of meat, act as a tenderizer.
Building your best marinade is easy…
- Acid: You can use anything acidic for this such as vinegar, lemon/lime juice, or wine. Obviously, we think wine is the way to go because you can customize the level of acid by which wine you select. Plus, you get the added bonus of imparting delicious, complex flavors. The amount of time you will be marinating and what you will be marinating determine how acidic the wine you choose should be. The more acid… the more tender. There is such a thing as too tender that gets into mushy territory. Lower Acid Missouri Wines: Chambourcin, Chardonel | Higher Acid Missouri Wines: Norton, Vidal Blanc
- Fat: The classic is extra virgin olive oil, but you can use butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil… and the list goes on. Keep in mind the flavor and smoke point when selecting your fat.
- Herbs and Aromatics: There are almost countless options to play with in this category. Everything from rosemary, to orange zest, to lavender, and everything in between. Remember dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh. You want to add flavor to the dish, not overpower it.
- Spice: Salt and pepper are the old stand-bys, but you don’t have to stop there. Vanilla, anise, and chili powder are a few other options to consider.
As for amounts of each, it depends on how much meat/fish/vegetables you are marinating. You want to make enough to fully coat what it is marinating. Good amounts to start with are: 1 cup wine, ½ cup oil, ½- tsp - 2 tbsp herbs (less for dry, more for fresh), and ½- tsp - 2 tbsp spice. For info on how long to marinade different meats, click here.
Whichever Missouri wine you choose to use in your marinade will pair nicely with the meal when it’s finished. Cheers!