Wednesday’s In the Know: Marinades Vs. Vinaigrettes
Oil, acidity, salt, pepper…They share a lot of the same genetic makeup but have you ever wondered what the true differentiator is?
- The Foundation: A marinade usually consists of a fat (some sort of oil), acidity (squeeze of lemon juice, pineapple juice, apple cider or any other acidic agent), spices (usually toasted – if applicable – and freshly ground for maximum flavor profile), herbs (fresh or dry), salt and pepper. Of course you can add garlic, ginger, shallots and even brown sugar and peanut butter!
- Purpose: Marinades are used to infuse proteins, or even veggies, with whatever concoction you have created. Marinades can also act as a tenderizer while imparting delicious flavor before it even hits the pan! If you are “marinating fruit” (usually done with sugar, like for a pie), that is called “macerating.” By the way, if you like apple pie, this apple pie recipe is on constant request!
- The Foundation: A vinaigrette usually consists some sort of fat (oil of choice), acidity (vinegar or lemon juice typically but don’t overestimate orange and even pineapple juice), salt and pepper. You can absolutely enhance the vinaigrette with fresh herbs, spices, garlic, shallots, and even Dijon mustard!
- Purpose: Vinaigrettes are used as a salad dressing and can be customized to the accompaniments (candied nuts, cheeses, fruit or protein) every night of the week! Make sure you toss the vinaigrette with your greens of choice right before serving to keep them from going limp!
Are they Interchangeable?
- Yes, I knew you were going to go there! See how smart you are!!! In most cases, yes – my Grilled Flank Steak Salad with Fresh Summer Peaches, Corn and Gorgonzola is a perfect example – but make sure the amount of acidity (usually more in a vinaigrette) is considered with the amount of time you are allowing your protein to marinate. Marinating proteins too long in lots of acidity will “cook” them before even hitting the pan! When making a salad with marinated protein, I love making a larger batch of marinade and keeping a portion for tossing the salad greens at the end – the Grilled Flank Steak Salad mentioned above is a prime example. Just make sure the marinade reserved for your salad greens never came in contact with the raw meat and you are good to go!
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Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!
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