Marinades, Sauces and Gravies for the Meal of a Lifetime
What would modern cuisine be without marinades, sauces or gravies? Each of these has a special role in finishing off your dishes to perfection. A marinade can be used to add flavor to your food, as well as tenderizing tough meats. Marinades vary from mild to spicy, and can be used with meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. Many double as a basting sauce too. Gravies are also an essential part of finishing a dish, and can be meaty, creamy, herby or spicy. Ladle a creamy gravy over biscuits or meat, or add a fruity one to your steak or pork. Gravies, like sauces or marinades, can also be made vegetarian or vegan.
There are sauces for all occasions, whether you want to add something special to your breakfast or brunch, liven up your bowl of fresh fruit, come up with something exquisite for your next dinner party, or try something brand new, making your own sauce from scratch instead of resorting to a boxed mix, to add a touch of fresh flavor to whatever you make. A sauce needs some kind of liquid component, but it might also be chunky, thick or semi-solid. Some sauces allow you to choose the consistency yourself so if you are making a cheese sauce, for example, you might want it thin to coat cauliflower or thick to stick to macaroni. Since you are making your own sauce, you have free choice about the consistency as well as the flavor.
A sauce can be served cold, like mayonnaise, warm, like pesto, or hot, like cheese sauce. Deglazing a pan with liquid to make a sauce results in what is known as a pan sauce, and every cuisine has its own variants. Some of the most popular ones used in cooking, such as béchamel or hollandaise, have been used in French cuisine since the Middle Ages. There are a lot of variations these days, literally thousands of sauces to choose from, and as well as sticking to classic dishes such as duck with orange sauce or pasta in tomato sauce, you might like to experiment with fusion dishes, or even come up with some of your own sauce recipes.
Think of marinades and one of the images that is sure to come to mind is juicy steak literally oozing with flavor. The purpose of using a marinade on steak is twofold. First, the mixture will add flavor to your meat, as subtly or as boldly as you wish. You can use the marinade as a basting sauce while the meat is cooking if you want to intensify the taste. Another reason to use a marinade on steak is to tenderize the less-tender cuts, such as skirt or flank steak. The acid in the marinade will break down those tough fibers, resulting in a piece of meat which is succulent and juicy.
Marinating chicken is a great way to add flavor. Chicken does not need to be tenderized but marinating it can add a subtle flavor to it, and then you can pan fry, grill or barbeque the chicken, or cook it in another way. Marinated chicken can be served as part of a salad if you wish, or as an appetizer. These marinades range from subtle fruity ones to spicy bold-tasting ones, depending on the result you are looking for, and some can be boiled to make a baste which you can then brush over the chicken while it cooks. There are lots of marinades for chicken to choose from.
Fish does not have to be marinated to tenderize it, but you can add wonderful flavors to it this way. Because fish is naturally delicate, your marinating time is going to be short. Any acidic ingredient in the marinade has the potential to make the fish too soft, so half an hour or so will probably be sufficient. For this reason, marinated fish is a great idea if you want to make a quick and easy meal. Choose from delicate flavors or more vibrant ones, and consider lemon or lime juice, fresh herbs, exotic spices or flavored oils, to add the most amazing flavor to fish and seafood.
Similar to a sauce, a herb butter adds flavor to meat, fish or vegetables, and there are various recipes you can try. Whether you plan to let your herb butter melt delicately over fish filets or steak, add a pat of it to asparagus or corn on the cob, or spread it over crusty warm bread, there is definitely a place for herb butters in our collection of sauces, marinades and gravies. Various herbs can be combined with butter, and you can choose from rosemary, basil, parsley, chives, or even use mixed herbs to add complexity. Herb butters are easy to make and really versatile.
Gravy is usually made from the juices of your meat or vegetables, and served over them. You can make gravy using pan juices from cooked turkey, beef, pork or another meat, adding fat, flour and flavors to finish it off. Serve this kind of gravy over rice, potatoes, meatloaf or a roast. White gravy can be made with sausage or bacon and served with breakfast in the South, and there are other kinds too, such as chocolate gravy, giblet gravy, onion gravy, and more. Making your own homemade gravy instead of using a boxed mix means you can expect a fresher, better flavor.
Sauces are perfect for any occasion, and there are thousands of different ones you can make. Typical sauces, ones which you are probably familiar with, include cheese, béchamel and tomato sauce, and we also have other sauce recipes for you to try, ones which will liven up your meat, fish, seafood and vegetable dishes, bring contrasting flavors to your desserts, or add a special touch to your salads. As well as a wide range of exciting sauce recipes, we also have lots of tips to ensure your homemade sauces come out looking and tasting absolutely beautiful.
Our Marinade Recipe Past
For a look at our marinade beginnings watch the video of one of the sites that went into the making of AmazingSauces.com.
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