Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Flavor Profile: Marinades

Marinating food is a great way to add flavor. If you were to compare a chicken breast, for instance, that just had some BBQ sauce slathered on it and a chicken breast that had been allowed to sit in a marinade all day, you would no doubt like the marinated one better. But marinating takes time and some advanced planning.

I will usually create the marinade the night before I want to use it. Either that evening or the following morning I will put the marinade in with the meat, usually in a large ziplock bag, and let them get to know each other all day in the fridge. In the evening when I come home, I take it out and toss out the marinade and put the meat on the grill. You don't ever want to use that marinade. The only exception is when you marinade veggies. You can take the marinade and cook it down, reducing it to a more syrupy consistency and serve that alongside the vegetables, but you don't want to take any chances with the marinade that's been marinating meat. That you want to throw out.

I recently posted a Peanut Sauce that I just adore. It is truly the best peanut sauce I've ever had. It goes along with Chicken Satay and in that post I mentioned the marinade for the chicken. This is the recipe. We had it a few nights ago for dinner.

Chicken Satay

1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
crushed dried red chili peppers
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into long strips each about 1/2 inch wide

Combine all the ingredients in a shallow dish. Add the chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight for a more intense flavor.

Thread the chicken pieces on bamboo skewers, weaving skewers in and out of meat lengthwise to create a serpentine design. Preheat your grill or broiler and turn skewers several times while basting about 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle with lime zest or chopped fresh cilantro and the peanut sauce. Delicious.

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