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Marinades

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Spiced Lemon and Garlic Mussel Marinade

The mussels in this recipe are cooked before marinating them, which differs from some of our other seafood marinade recipes where the seafood is first marinated and then cooked. You can begin with ready-cooked mussels if you wish, either fresh or thawed, but for the best results we recommend you start with live mussels and cook them yourself in white wine and celery, because they you are beginning with top quality seafood and the finished dish will taste fresher and better.

The Flavors in the Marinade

Lemon plays a major part in this marinade, and you will need the zest and juice of a fresh lemon. It is a good idea to have 2 lemons actually, since one can be served in wedges with the finished dish. As well as that, you will need garlic and a red chili pepper, along with some finely chopped or minced fresh herbs. Pretty much anything will work here – parsley, basil, chervil, dill weed, rosemary, or cilantro, so just take your pick or else mix and match the herbs for more dimensions in the final flavor.

The mussels should be cooked first and then you can let them cool down before removing the meat from the shells. While they are cooling you can whisk together the ingredients you need for the marinade. Add the mussels to the marinade then give them about half an hour in the refrigerator, so the tasty flavors can penetrate into the flesh.

Because these are already cooked you can taste one at the end of the marinating time and, if it tastes good, you can plate and serve them. It is fine to serve them in the marinade in a glass dish, or you can let it drip off and just serve the mussels as they are. Either way the lemon, garlic and herb flavors should be evident, along with the kick from the chili pepper. Continue reading

Soy Sauce and Thyme Marinade

This simple recipe adds flavor to scallops, and you can serve them as an appetizer, perhaps on a bed of greens. You will need 16 cleaned, medium-size diver scallops to make this recipe. There is a world of difference between thawed and fresh scallops, the former being better for making soup or stews because of their softer texture. Choose fresh scallops if you are going to pan-fry them, because they are firmer.

Simple Flavors that Work So Well

The main flavors are the soy sauce, thyme and garlic, and you will also need some olive oil, either regular olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Some people like to swap the soy sauce for a pinch each of salt and black pepper, and you can do that if you wish. Scallops are quite neutral-tasting, but they do have a distinctive flavor and texture, both of which are complemented with this marinade.

There is no need to make something with lots of different ingredients when something simpler will suffice, and there are plenty of delicious marinade recipes for seafood with only 3 or 4 ingredients. If you are using thawed scallops, you will need to ensure they are dry before adding the marinade. Continue reading

Red Chili and Basil Marinade

This tasty marinade features hot chili and basil as its main aromatic flavors, along with garlic and lemon juice. The result is perfect for marinating shrimp or you could use it on squid or another kind of seafood. Feel free to swap the red chili for prepared mustard if you prefer, for a different kind of spicy taste, or to change the amount you use. Some people like their food much spicier than others.

Tips for Perfect Marinated Kabobs

We recommend using shrimp with this marinade, just because the natural sweetness of shrimp pairs so well with the spicy taste of this marinade. The easiest way to cook them is to thread the shrimp on to skewers and then cook them on a hot grill.

You can prepare the grill while the shrimp are marinating, because half an hour is sufficient for marinating else the lemon juice in the marinade will start to ‘cook’ the shrimp and that is not what we are doing here. You could also try this marinade with clams, mussels or another type of shellfish, because it will bring out the beauty of any sort of seafood.

If you are going to make kabobs, then soak bamboo skewers in cold water for half an hour while the grill is heating up and the shrimp are marinating. Of course if you are using metal skewers there is no soaking required. The marinade may be discarded but if any pieces of chili or basil stick to the shrimp, that is fine, since it will just add splashes of color. You might also want to keep some minced chili and/or minced basil for garnish.

Continue reading

Zesty Sweet Lemongrass Marinade

This Vietnamese marinade features lemongrass, as well as lime, for a citrusy taste. You will need to combine the ingredients in a food processor or, if you do not have one, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients together by hand. Whichever you use, just make sure everything is well combined, so you can get all the flavors into your seafood.

This marinade is great for shrimp, squid, mussels or clams, or mixed seafood. Because of the versatile flavor, you could also use it on poultry or fish. A lot of Asian marinades combine a number of ingredients to yield a complex flavor, while many Western ones use perhaps 3 or 4 ingredients only, for a simpler flavor. This is not always the case of course, but it often is. Take a look at the ingredients in this marinade recipe. As well as the lemongrass and lime, you will see fish sauce, garlic and shallots, along with hot sauce and minced fresh chili pepper.

Now just imagine what a tasty and piquant flavor your seafood is going to take on after soaking in this marinade. Whichever kind of seafood you use, whether you go with shrimp or choose something else, you can be assured of an incredible flavor. What about threading the marinated shrimp on to skewers and grilling them to make kabobs? You can serve these with white rice and perhaps also some stir-fried bok choi or similar Asian greens.

If you are not keen on spicy flavors, or you just want to make it milder, feel free to use less minced chili, omit the hot sauce, or doing both of those things. You can even leave it out altogether but using a tiny bit of chili is better than using none, just so you can experience the appeal of this authentic Vietnamese marinade. Continue reading

Gorgeous Greek Marinade for Octopus

A lot of people enjoy the texture of octopus (as long as it has been cooked properly of course, and is not tough or rubbery!) and the flavor too, but avoid it in the grocery store because they are unsure about how to prepare and cook it. This is a shame because homemade octopus recipes can be really nice.

You can use fresh or thawed octopus in this recipe. If it has not been cleaned already, you will need to remove and discard the ink sac, eyes and stomach, under running water, and then snip off the beak. All of these parts are in the head, and the beak is at the bottom of the head where it meets the tentacles. Alternatively buy a frozen uncooked octopus which has already been cleaned, because then there is no preparation to do except to thaw it out.

Octopus is popular in Greece and all around the Mediterranean coast actually, where it can be served as an appetizer or entrée. This marinated octopus recipe is really tender and you can make it ahead, as much as 2 or 3 days ahead if you want. Bear in mind it will lose quite a bit of its volume while it cooks, so you will end up with a smaller looking octopus than you began with.

What makes the following recipe so good is its simplicity. All you need is extra-virgin olive oil, wine vinegar and oregano. Because there are so few ingredients, the flavor of each one will stand out in the finished dish, so ensure you use a high quality extra-virgin olive oil and wine vinegar, and try to get ground Greek oregano if you can find it, for an authentic Greek flavor in the finished dish. Continue reading

Lemon and Garlic Marinade

Lemon and garlic are typical flavors in seafood marinade recipes, and you will often find herbs in there too. This is a fairly standard seafood marinade, but just because it is standard does not necessarily mean everyone knows how to make it. This recipe shows you how to add lovely fresh flavors to your mixed seafood (or fish if you prefer) to bring out its natural beauty and enhance the flavor, yielding great results.

Which Seafood to Use

The choice of seafood is up to you, but if you are looking for an easy dish to make, buy a package of frozen mixed seafood, so you get mussels, shrimp, scallops, and octopus in there, or similar ingredients, and then thaw and drain the seafood and toss it with this tasty marinade.

Once it has been sitting for half an hour you can cook it in a wok or even in a foil package on the grill. If you prefer to use a whole fresh squid, some clams or langoustines, any of those are sure to work nicely with this marinade, or you could even use it on fish steaks or filets. To make this easy marinade you just need to gather your ingredients and then whisk everything together until everything is well combined, and then it is time to add your seafood.

This marinade makes enough for about a pound of seafood but you can easily double or triple the recipe if you want to make a larger batch. Do not marinate it for longer than half an hour because of the lemon juice. This acidic ingredient will start to ‘cook’ the seafood if left on for too long, so make 30 minutes your maximum marinating time. Continue reading

Zesty Pinot Grigio Marinade

Pinot Grigio is the main ingredient in this marinade, and this Italian white wine is sure to infuse your fish with a fantastic flavor. Also known as Pinot Gris, this wine is dry and slightly fruity. You can use another kind of white wine if you prefer, even something drier like Sauvignon Blanc would work, since the marinade also features honey and orange juice which are sweet ingredients.

What Fish to Use?

This is a versatile marinade and you can try it with cod, salmon, tilapia, orange roughy, halibut, hake, pollock, or pretty much any other kind, choosing from fish filets or steaks. This kind of marinade will be good with any of these, or consider shrimp or another kind of white fish. It would even work with chicken since that is light and neutral-tasting as well. The recipe makes enough for about 1½ pounds of fish but of course you may double or triple it if you are feeding a crowd.

As well as the wine, orange juice and honey, this recipe calls for garlic which adds a subtle yet distinctive flavor, and you can also add some minced fresh chives if you like, although those are optional so do not worry if you do not have any. A splash of lemon juice is also nice but you can leave this out if you prefer a sweeter result. Minced basil would also work in this recipe so you can use that instead if you want, saving a couple of sprigs for the garnish. Use a non-reactive container for marinating, so either a Ziploc bag or a glass or Pyrex dish. Avoid metal which can react with the marinade ingredients and cause a strange flavor. Continue reading

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