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Techniques for Meats, Poultry, Fish, and Shellfish

Techniques for Meats, Poultry, Fish, and Shellfish

Pork with salt, bay leaves, and perper corns.

Culinary Institute of America

Using Marinades for fish and shellfish

Marinades are effective ways to add flavor to foods before you cook them.

Marinades generally contain one or more of the following: oil, acid, and aromatics (spices, herbs, and vegetables). Oils protect food from intense heat during cooking and help hold other flavorful ingredients in contact with the food. Acids, such as vinegar, wine, yogurt, and citrus juices, flavor the food and change its texture. In some cases, acids firm or stiffen foods (e.g. the lime juice marinade that “cooks” the raw fish in seviche).

Marinating times vary according to the food’s texture. Tender or delicate foods such as fish or poultry breast require less time. A tougher cut of meat may be marinated for days. The ratio of acid to other ingredients may also affect timing. High-acid marinades such as those used to prepare seviche produce the desired effect within fifteen or twenty minutes of applying them to a food. Others are best left in contact with foods for several hours, while some require several days. Some marinades are cooked before use; others are not. Sometimes the marinade is used to flavor an accompanying sauce or may itself become a dipping sauce. Marinades that have been in contact with raw foods can be used in these ways provided that they are boiled for several minutes first to kill any lingering pathogens.

To use a liquid marinade, add it to the ingredient and turn the ingredient to coat evenly. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for the length of time indicated by the recipe, the type of meat, poultry, or fish, and the desired result. Brush or scrape off excess marinade before cooking and pat dry, particularly if the marinade contains herbs or other aromatics that burn easily.

Reprinted by permission from The Culinary Institute of America, “Techniques of Healthy Cooking” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2008).