Marinades for all

by Joanne on March 26, 2009

What is a marinade? It is a seasoned liquid or spice mix in which meats, fish  or vegetables are coated to add flavor or tenderize.   Acid breaks down protein to tenderize (the higher the acid content,  the quicker the protein will break down). Oil adds moisture. A combination of the two are often used.  Italian dressing is a great easy, grab it and go, marinade!

Flavors are very often localized to a specific region. Caribbean = Jerk Marinade (fruits and spices and chilies). Asian = Teriyaki (soy sauce, sugar, ginger, sake…).  The limit is your own imagination. Use beer, wine, soda, fruit juice.  Dairy products will add a creaminess to the marinade but use them right before marinating because they break down quickly.  Flavored oils and ketchup are also great options. The only rule is that you must have an idea of what you would like the end taste to be.  This will determine the quantity measurements of your recipe.  


The marinade should never overpower the main ingredient. If you use a strong onion-garlic marinade for a shrimp dish for example, you will likely taste onion and garlic with something unidentifiably solid underneath.

If the marinade is going to color your main ingredient, you do not want to “inject” (piercing the item with a needle to impart the liquid deep in the flesh of the meat) the marinade unless you’re cooking Zebra 😉 … get the message?

How to’s and where for’s?

How long?  Meat may be marinated from 1 to 24 hours. Fish, no longer than 30 minutes because it may turn mushy.  You can get away with a quick 15 minutes.  It depends on the meat. If it is a “tough” cut, a longer time is required. ALWAYS MARINATE IN THE REFRIGERATOR!

What do I use?  Ingredient suggestions are listed above, but don’t stop there. Be creative. As for what container? Anything but metal – that includes aluminum. Use a plastic bag then you can just toss it for easy clean up.

How much do I use?  Any where from 1/4 to 1/2 a cup per pound of item.

What do I do with the left over marinade after removing the item(s)?  Don’t use it unless you boil it for 2 minutes MINIMUM. 

How do I cook marinated items?  Any way you like but the grill is best. Don’t mess around with it by poking it or flipping it. Simply turn it over ONE time.

Tonight’s Marinade for Swordfish:  GINGER SOY MARINADE


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1/4 cup Port wine
  • 1 garlic clove-mashed
  • 1 tsp ginger – peeled and grated.

Put all the above in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Let it cool about 30 minutes or until it is room temperature.

Pour over 1 1/2 lb Swordfish steaks and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Rub 1 TBS olive oil on stove top grill pan.  Heat on high. When nice and hot, add swordfish steaks and grill 2 minutes per side.  Remove to baking dish and put in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) until cooked.

Swimmingalong side of our fishy dish was a wonderful serving of Mexican Vegetable Asparagus.  Yes, I mixed flavors here but it turned out excellent.  For the asparagus, pour a can of partially drained Mexican Veggie Soup (I used Progresso) over one bunch thin asparagus spears. Cover and put into the oven at 350 F for 40 – 45 minutes. 



Another birthday to celebrate.  David – Happy Birthday!  He is a LEGO Luke Skywalker fan and here is the cake he ordered with lots of  Happy Birthday cookies to share.



As for tonight ….. “Obstacles melt away when we have the will to succeed.”  Good night all.

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1 Comment

  • At 2009.03.27 09:00, applec said:

    Just have to add… I didn’t know about the fish marinade “thing” and put the swordfish in the marinade at 12:45pm. After investigating and writing the post, I thought ..”OH NO”… but apparently we were lucky and swordfish must be dense enough to take the over-marinated condition. It wasn’t mushy at all. But I won’t try that again … that’s for sure!

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