September 5, 2009

Citrus and Spice Makes Everything Nice

The marinade listed below comes from a book written by Jim Tarantino entitled Marinades Rubs, Brines, Cures, and Glazes. This is a valuable resource if you're interested in learning how to increase the flavor of your food cooked outdoors. The flavors in this marinade are intense and would be effective when paired with fish, seafood, chicken, or pork. Although I encourage you to experiment with marinating times I have included some guidelines as a starting point. I recently used this marinade to flavor chicken breasts. The citrus flavor in the finished product grabs you first and then is followed by spice from the chipolte powder and diced jalapeno.
Approximate marinating times:
Fish and seafood: 1-2 hours
Chicken and pork: 2-3 hours

There is a lot of citrus in this marinade so I would recommend only using fish which has a firm texture. More delicate fish would not hold up to the high acid content in this recipe and would have the tendency to become mushy. Also as a note marinades with a high acid content can chemically alter your food if left too long. This is the basic principle with a seviche where the acid in the marinade actually "cooks" the seafood in the dish.

Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges, 2 lemons, and 2 limes
1 tsp chile powder (I used chipolte powder which comes from smoked jalapenos)
1 tsp oregano
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon of diced jalapeno with seeds removed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil (recommend olive or safflower oil)

Add all the ingredients in a blender and mix until everything is well incorporated. It is best to make this marinade a day a head to let the flavor develop. The finished marinade should be refrigerated and will last approx 1 week.

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