Try All Purpose Garlic & Herbs Marinade packed with flavors from garlic, lemon juice and various herbs for your next cookout. It's perfect on meat, veggies, and as a dipping sauce for bread.
After several failed attempts in the past, this year I am super pumped about my semi-herb garden. It's a starter herb raised-bed with cilantro, rosemary, mint, oregano, and green onions and so far they are thriving. I don't know if they will withstand the Texas heat but we shall see. Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to pack flavor without adding too much salt and not to mention different health benefits from herbs and spices. Recently, I made All Purpose Garlic & Herbs Marinade utilizing lots of garlic and whatever herbs I have on hand and the result is just fantastic esp if you are into Summer grilling. The marinade is great on grilled meat, veggies, or can be used as a dipping oil for bread.
A marinade is a sauce or liquid that helps maximize the flavors and tenderize the meat as it contains different seasonings, acid (or enzyme) and oil. The use of different herbs and spices adds a flavor while acid such as citrus juice or vinegar breaks down the muscle making them tender, and oil helps moisturize and marry flavors together.
I don't think there is a set recipe or ratio for marinades, which means it's a blank canvass to create whatever deliciousness you desire. My only suggestion is to keep a simple theme with refreshing flavors you enjoy instead of complicating things with too many flavors.
To Salt or Not Salt? I came across different opinions when it comes to salting the marinade ahead or just before cooking. Salt is a flavor enhancer and it helps retain moisture during cooking unless you add TOO MUCH salt, then it can possibly dehydrate the meat and make it dry during cooking. Some people suggested adding little during marination and seasoning with more salt if needed during cooking, esp with steak.
Acid : Adding acidic component like citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange) & vinegar (red wine, balsamic etc) breaks down the protein which helps tenderize the meat. However, the duration of acid-based marinade should be short because when the meat is left in a very acidic marinade, the protein bonds tighten & water get squeezed out making the meat to get tough.
Chefs and well-seasoned cooks have varying opinions & techniques but in my experience, seasoning with little salt, acid, and flavorings is just fine. The general rule of thumb for marinating is about 2 hours for chicken, 15-30 minutes for vegetables, fish and seafood (even shorter time for scallops and shrimp), and 2-4 hours for steak, chops. If you are working with less tough and already tender cut of meat - do not marinate for too long as acid can toughen the meat.
Here are some great resources for further reading if you are interested :
Now that you have all the resources to make a good marinade, I can't wait to see what you will grill this season. I hope you will use the recipe below for All Purpose Garlic & Herbs Marinade as an inspiration to grill veggies and meat with your loved ones.
The marinade can be made ahead of time and used as needed. I use about ½ cup of marinade to 1 pound of meat and use a resealable plastic bag, glass or plastic container to mix everything. DO NOT use metal bowls as acid can react with metal.
All Purpose Garlic & Herbs Marinade
makes about 2.5 cups
2 cups packed finely chopped fresh herbs (I used a mix of cilantro, rosemary, mint, oregano, basil)
1 cup neutral, high heat oil such as canola or avocado oil
¾ cup lemon juice
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste ( general recommendation for raw meats, poultry, fish and seafood is ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt per pound)
In a medium glass bowl, combine finely chopped herbs, minced garlic, and oil together and whisk everything.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Store in an airtight container and use it as needed for marinade or as a dipping oil for bread.
Always marinade meat in the refrigerator.
If you plan to use marinade as a sauce or baste, reserve a portion on the side before adding the raw meat. Discard any leftover marinade with meat to avoid any bacterial contamination.
If you make All Purpose Garlic & Herbs Marinade, don't forget to share your creation by tagging @foodpleasurehealth or pin for later use.