One of the oldest and still one of the best ways to impart flavor to food is through marination. For centuries culinary artisans have resorted to marinades to season bland foods and further enhance those with pronounced flavors of their own.
But marinades are more than mere savory additions. When meat prices go up, marinades can make cheap cuts taste wonderful and can help to tenderize some less desirable meats.
By changing the herbs and spices and the liquid base used in a marinade, one can ompletely change the character of meats, fish, poultry and even vegetables.
A simple pot roast becomes a tangy sauerbraten when marinated in a ginger-flavored vinegar solution before cooking. The same cut will take on an old-fashioned chili-flavored bite when steeped in a peppery marinade for several hours before being barbecued. Or it can be given a mellow winy taste if left in an herbed red wine bath overnight.
It is important to consider the basic characteristics of the foods selected and the length of time they are to be marinated.
Thicks cuts of red meat will take longer to absorb flavors from a marinade than will a delicate fish or chicken. Never forget that the idea behind using a marinade is to enhance the food, not overpower it.
When marinating for a long period, such as overnight, the most desirable results will be obtained by using whole herbs and spices in the liquid. If the period is brief, however, ground herbs and spices with their more intense flavors will provide better results. And don't forget that bottled herbs and spices get stale and lose their impact after a year or so on the shelf, so be sure to use fresh ones.
DEVILED FLANK STRIPS
(6 to 8 servings) 1 (2-pound) flank steak 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon grated onion 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 cup minced green pepper 1 teaspoon white peppercorns, coarsely ground 1 tablespoon honey 1/4 cup oil
Cut meat in thin long strips. Combine vinegar, onion, mustard, green pepper, peppercorns, honey and oil. Mix well. Combine with beef strips in a non-metallic bowl or in a heavy-duty plastic bag that seals. Marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
To serve, broil or pan-fry steak, or stir-fry in hot oil with sliced asparagus if desired. Add 2 teaspoons cornstarch to 1/2 cup marinade mixture and cook and stir until thickened.
(4 to 6 servings) 1 (3 pound) chicken, cut up 2 cups dry white wine Flour Salt, pepper 2 tablespoons shortening 1 large onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon crush dried chiles 2 carrots, chopped 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered 1 cup stuffed olives 12 prunes 3 green bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 3 tablespoons sugar
Marinate chicken pieces in wine overnight. Drain chicken thoroughly, reserving marinade. Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat shortening in a large kettle, add chicken and brown on all sides. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes longer. Add 2 tomatoes, reserved marinade, bay leaf, oregano, thyme and chiles. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes, olives, remaining 2 tomatoes, prunes, bananas and sugar. Simmer 1 hour longer, Serve with rice and garnish with avocado slices, if desired.
(4 to 6 servings) 1/2 pound spinach 1 small head butter lettuce 1/4 pound mushrooms 1/2 green pepper, diced Mustard French dressing
Wash spinach, drain on paper towels and pat dry. Shred coarsely. Wash lettuce, dry thoroughly and break into bite-size pieces. Rinse mushrooms and dry. Slice mushrooms very thin. Combine mushrooms, green pepper and 1/2 cup of the dressing and marinate 1 hour or longer. Combine greens and the mushroom and green pepper mixture in a bowl. Toss. Add more dressing if needed to moisten well and toss again. Garnish with sliced hard-cooked egg, if desired.
MUSTARD FRENCH DRESSING
(About 1 cup) 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 1 tablespoon sugar or honey 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper 1/4 cup vinegar 3/4 cup oil
Blen mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Beat in vinegar gradually until well blended. Beat in the oil, then beat until well blended.
VEGETABLES IN MARINADE
(6 to 8 servings) 1 cup diced peeled carrot 1 cup diced zucchini 1 cup diced cauliflower or cauliflowerets 1 cup cut-up broccoli 1/2 cup diced green pepper 3 radishes, sliced 10 or more cherry tomatoes Herb-wine marinade Romaine or endive lettuce
In large bowl combine carrot, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, green pepper, radishes and cherry tomatoes. Add herb-wine marinade. Mix well. Cover and let stand in refrigerator several hours. To serve, pile marinated vegetables on center of serving plater lined with crisp romaine.
HERB WINE MARINADE
(About 1 cup) 1/4 cup white wine 1 cup sour cream 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon each oregano, marjoram and basil 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine wine, sour cream, garlic, oregano, marjoram, basil, sugar and salt.
(4 servings) 1 to 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined Barbecue Sauce Bacon squares, partially fried Green pepper squares
Marinate shrimp in barbecue sauce at least 1 hour. Arrange shrimp alternately with pieces of bacon and green pepper on 4 skewers. Place on broiler pan and broil 10 to 15 minutes about 5 inches from source of heat, turning and brushing often with sauce.
BARBECUE SAUCE 10 1/2-ounce can tomato soup 2 tablespoons chopped celery 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons oil 2 tablespoons bottled steak sauce 2 teaspoons prepared mustard 1/2 teaspoon pepper Hot pepper sauce 1 clove garlic, minced
Combine tomato soup, celery, lemon juice, oil, steak sauce, mustard, pepper, hot pepper sauce to taste and garlic. Mix well. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.
(2 or 3 servings) 1/4 cup vinegar 2 tablespoons oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon crushed oregano Pepper 1 tomato, peeled and cut in chunks 1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced 1/2 cup sliced celery 1 onion, sliced and separated into rings 2 tablespoons sliced pitted ripe olives 2 tablespoons broken walnuts Shredded lettuce
Combine vinegar, oil, salt, oregano and a dash of pepper in a covered jar. Shake vigorously. Pour marinade over tomato, cucumber, celery onion, olives and walnuts. Toss well. Cover and chill 1 1/2 hours, tossing occasionally. Serve on shredded lettuce.
(3 or 4 servings) 1 turkey hindquarter 1 1/2 cups soy sauce 1/2 cup lemon juice 1 1/4 cup teaspoons ginger 2 cloves garlic, minced
Place turkey hindquarter in a shallow dish. Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger and garlic and pour over turkey. Turn to coat well. Cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight, or several hours. Drain and grill over glowing coals until tender and browned, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn and baste with marinade as necessary to prevent burning.
When turkey feels tender if pressed, cut into the thigh joint. If no red juices run, the turkey is done. Slice across thigh and lengthwise on drumstick to cut for serving.
GRILLED TURKEY WINGS
(6 servings) 6 turkey wings 1/4 cup lime juice 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/4 teaspoon thyme Salt, pepper 2 tablespoons oil
Cut off wing tips and reserve for making broth. Cut apart remaining 2 joints of wings. Place in a shallow dish and add lime juice, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to mix well. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes. Drain wing pieces and place on greased grill. Brush with oil and grill until lightly browned. Turn and grill other side. Brush occasionally with the marinade and/or more oil. Continue to grill over glowing coals until meat in thickest portion of wing sections is tender, about 1 hour total cooking time. CAPTION: Illustration, no caption