Soak it In

Marination is an ancient cooking technique that tenderizes and flavors food. Ingredients are soaked in a seasoned liquid, which usually contains an acid, such as vinegar or an enzyme. Additionally, the presence of a fat aids in the absorption of the marinade. The goal is to take tough or bland items and make them tender and delicious. While delicate foods, such as fish, need only a few minutes in a marinade, other foods require several hours or even overnight to achieve the full effect. Meats should always be marinated in the refrigerator, and unless the marinade is boiled once the meat is removed, the marinade should be discarded to prevent illness.

We have shared two wonderful marinades in the issue’s In Season column. There is a red wine marinade for beef stew, which exemplifies the acidic type of marinade, and a tandoor-style yogurt mixture of the enzymatic style. Both produce tasty, tender dishes.