Why marinades and sous-vide are the perfect matches
The magic of marinades
While the sous-vide method ensures that the best flavors are maintained in your food during cooking, marinating your fish, vegetables, and meat before hand will ensure even more intense, delectable flavors.
How should you marinade your food before sous-vide cooking?
Though very similar to marinating during conventional cooking methods, the biggest difference in sous-vide cooking is the vacuum-sealing process. As the food is vacuum sealed, excess air is extracted, leaving only the food and marinade and thus allowing for the food to be fully immersed in the flavor concoction. A good example is sauerbraten, or marinading a meat roast. A week prior to cooking, the meat is vacuum sealed in a vinegar, wine, spices, and herbs. Instead of simply pouring the marinade over the meat, the sealed bag keeps the contents tightly in place, ensuring the meat is consistently absorbing the flavors for the time leading up to cooking.
A good marinade should include oil and salt as these two ingredients act together to enhance flavors. Salt extracts liquid in the food (called osmosis) and reabsorbs it again as its mixed with the other added herbs and spices. Oil helps to release the natural flavors of the food. With these two ingredients, as well as other desired herbs and spices, you can create the perfect marinade. The following section has suggestions for what marinades work best with different foods.
Liquids well-suited for red meat marinades include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and honey. For the spice lovers, use ingredients like chili pepper and hot paprika. The delicate flavors of your marinade will combine with the natural juices of the red meat during the marinading time, creating a deliciously tender piece of meat. Tip: never reuse a marinade.
Spices that bring nice flavors to poultry dishes include turmeric, curry powder, and other fruity spices. For a fancy addition, try using mango – yellow chutneys make excellent base marinades. TIP: Refine your poultry marinades by adding yogurt as the lactic acid will make your dishes juicier and more flavorful.
Garlic and lemon are favorite choices for every fish marinades; try crushing the garlic and mixing with fresh lemon for a zesty concoction. Ginger is another great flavor to add to fish dishes. TIP: Fish does not require a long marinading time and one hour should be sufficient to reach peak flavors.
Mediterranean herbs are an excellent choice to perfectly complement the natural, fresh flavors that vegetables have. Sous-vide cooking works nicely with zucchini, sweet peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.
Surprise! Even fruit tastes great with a marinade. Spices add a distinctive, decadent touch to any dessert. Fruits like plums, cherries, pineapple, peaches, apples, and pears are excellent choices for the sous-vide method and mix well with flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, cloves or anise. For extra tang, add port wine to fruit marinades. TIP: Natural fruit juices make a great bade for a marinade.
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