Marinades to make most of summer sun
I was caught on the hop recently with an unexpected spell of great barbecue weather, so I invited some friends over for an impromptu BBQ. With nothing prepared, I thought I'd pick up lamb and chicken marinated skewers.
Besides being overpriced, the 'marinade' on the lamb was a catering brand of mint sauce and the chicken skewers were a virulent shade of orange.
With that in mind, I decided to compile a list of my favourite marinades for you to try this summer.
Roz's favourite Greek lemony chicken marinade – for 8 chicken pieces
* Juice of 4 lemons
* 4tbls olive oil
* 2tbls brandy
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 2tsp ground cumin
* 2tsp dried oregano
* Tsp ground cinnamon
This works well with chicken skewers using chicken breast or whole chicken pieces. Leave the chicken to marinade for at least 20 minutes, but not longer than four hours. Discard the marinade as it is full of raw chicken juices.
Sticky lime and sweet chilli marinade for prawns, chicken wings, pork ribs or tofu
* 200ml sweet chilli sauce
* 4tbls ketcap manis (a thick, sticky sweet Indonesian soy sauce, ideal for marinades)
* Juice of 4 limes
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1 thumb of ginger, grated
Ketcap manis (also spelled ketjap manis), is available from Asian markets and some supermarkets. As it is sweet and sticky, it caramelises well. This is one of my favourite marinades as it is so versatile. If cooking ribs, simmer vigorously for 30 minutes first then baste well with the sauce before BBQ'ing.
Ideal for making sticky chicken wings or chicken skewers, marinade for 20 minutes to 4 hours then BBQ. Also a great fix for tofu – drain tofu chunks on kitchen paper for two hours, then marinade for at least an hour.
Harissa marinade for lamb, chicken, salmon or vegetables
* 2tbsp Harissa spice (from the Organic Herb Company)
* 8tbsp olive oil
* 2tbls balsamic vinegar
* Juice and zest of 2 oranges
* Salt and pepper
Harissa is a spicy condiment widely used in North Africa and the Middle East. The spice blend is a mixture of chilli, cumin, coriander, caraway and garlic. To this is added a pureé of tomato and roasted vegetables to form a paste.
Harissa is one of my most used spice blends, and definitely my favourite way to marinade lamb for the BBQ. This marinade is one of my most versatile marinades as it will complement lamb, chicken, salmon and is fantastic for vegetables skewers. I like using courgettes, blanched sweet potatoes, red onion, peppers and mushrooms.
Baharat spice blend for fish, chicken and salad dressings
* 2tbls black pepper corns
* 2tbls coriander seeds
* 2tbls cumin seeds
* 1tsp whole cloves
* Seeds from 12 cardamom pods
* 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
* 1tbls paprika
* 1tbls ground nutmeg
Dry fry all the spices (except the paprika and nutmeg) in a small frying pan until you can smell them. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder. Mix in the nutmeg and paprika. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
* 3tbls grapeseed oil
* Zest and juice of 1 lemon
* 2tsp baharat spice blend
* Baharat Salad Dressing
* 2tbls grapeseed oil
* Juice of 1 lemon
* 1 tsp baharat spice blend
Top Tips For marinading and dasting
* Marinade prawns and fish fillets for 20 minutes to an hour.
Seafood is a delicate protein and the marinade will start breaking down the fibres, especially if it contains vinegar, lemon or lime juice.
* Chicken will take on flavour after just 20 minutes, but anything up to four hours is enough for the marinade to work.
* Large joints of meat, especially red meat, can be marinaded overnight or even 2 days. Be aware that wine in a marinade will also break down the fibres and you could end up with a mushy, slimey piece of meat.
* Use a glass or plastic dish to marinade. Lemon juice, vinegar and wine can react with metal dishes, giving off a faint metallic taste.
* Always leave marinaded raw meat at the bottom of the fridge and cover, so that raw meat juices aren't dripping on to other foods.
* Shake the marinade off the meat before placing on the BBQ. Dripping marinade will cause the BBQ to flame up.
* Discard any leftover marinade, do not use to baste! The marinade will be full of raw meat juice that won't be cooked properly.
* Use a heat-resistant silicone pastry brush to baste with. The traditional bristle brushes shed bristles and you can't clean them properly.
* Make sure you have a clean dish ready, not the one you were marinading in!
Recipes taken from 'Relish BBQ' by Rozanne Stevens, available in all good book stores and at www.rozannestevens.com