Why do chefs use marinades? Primarily, to add flavour to meat or fish. It can also be because certain marinade ingredients help to tenderise meats in particular. Oil adds moisture, cider vinegar or citrus juices soften meat fibres. Kiwi fruits contain a special enzyme that breaks down tough meats. So adding these to your marinade serves to infuse flavour and create a melting mouthful in the finished dish.
Meat, chicken, and fish all benefit from being soaked in a marinade, even if only for half an hour or so before cooking.
What’s best with what? A few ideas follow:
Pork or lamb – loves the tastes of olive or rapeseed oil, soy, garlic, hot chilli, ginger, lemon grass, citrus juice, perfect for soaking chunks of meat before making kebabs with red pepper pieces and onion wedges
Beef – try a mix of olive or rapeseed oil, fresh thyme sprigs, shallots, garlic and red wine for a whack of flavour infusion before you make a stew. Use the marinade in the gravy.
Chicken – fresh leafy herbs like coriander and parsley, lime or lemon juice, olive or rapeseed oil, cracked black pepper is a good marinade before grilling
Fish – rapeseed oil, lime or lemon juice and zest, flat parsley or chives, mild green chilli (optional) and spring onions add fragrance, flavour and aroma to delicate white fish fillets
A few ideas to get you started! We're sure you can think of lots more of your own favourites to add here!