The endless summer conundrum of how to break free from dishing up the same old barbecue recipes is easily solved by having an arsenal of marinade and dressing recipes at your disposal.
Marinades are generally made up of three basic ingredients: fat, usually an oil; an acid such as citrus, wine or vinegar; and flavourings like herbs, garlic and spices. Yoghurt and buttermilk offer the mildest of marinades but given enough time to work, they tenderise meat the most effectively while keeping it moist. The enzymes found in kiwifruit, papaya and pineapple can also be used in marinades but with a note of caution. Marinate for a much shorter time (a maximum of two hours) otherwise the meat will disintegrate and become excessively mushy.
The marinades below are best left for at least one hour but no more than 4 hours. The two yoghurt-based marinades can be left for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Use glass or ceramic bowls or shallow dishes when marinating as plastic will become tainted. Strong zip lock bags are also useful if transporting marinated food to a picnic.
Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme
Works with beef, pork and chicken.
Combine 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Greek Yoghurt, Ginger and Cumin
Try with a boned leg of lamb or a whole butterflied chicken.
Combine 1 cup thick plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon each ground coriander and cumin, 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, ½ cup chopped coriander or mint, finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon, pinch of chilli flakes, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Mustard and Orange Marinade
Use with chicken, lamb and pork.
Whisk 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, ½ teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, finely grated zest 1 orange, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Jamaican Jerk Marinade
Use for chicken, pork, beef and seafood.
½ small chopped onion, ½ teaspoon chilli flakes, 1 tablespoon each brown sugar, soy sauce, vegetable oil and grated fresh ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, zest and juice 1 lime, ½ teaspoon each ground allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Smoked Paprika and Thyme
Great for firm-fleshed fish, pork, lamb and chicken.
Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh thyme and dried oregano, 2 cloves crushed garlic, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Great for sirloin, rump and skirt steaks.
Blend in a food processor, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons each sweet chilli sauce and Worcestershire sauce,
¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup chopped coriander.
Indian Spiced Yoghurt and Lemon
Works well with chicken and lamb.
Combine ¾ cup thick plain yoghurt,
finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon,
3 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cardamom and sea salt, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric.
An alternative option to add flavour is to dress after cooking rather than marinating beforehand. When your meat, fish or vegetables are cooked, transfer them to a serving platter, slice or leave whole and give them a blast of flavour by topping with one of the following dressings.
These recipes all go well with meat, fish and vegetables.
Almond and Pomegranate
Combine in a bowl, 1 cup roughly chopped skin-on roasted almonds, ¼ cup each chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint leaves, ½ red onion, finely chopped, 1 long red chilli seeded and finely chopped, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, zest 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Coriander and Ginger
Place the following ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
1 large handful coriander leaves and stems, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon honey, 5 tablespoons olive oil, juice 1 lemon, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cashew Nut, Kecap Manis and Sesame
½ cup roasted cashew nuts, ¼ cup sweet chilli sauce, 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 tablespoon kecap manis, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ cup chopped coriander, zest and juice 1 lime.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until the nuts are finely chopped.
Spiced Honey and Mint
Whisk together ½ cup olive oil, finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon, ¼ teaspoon each ground allspice and cinnamon, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 cloves crushed garlic, small handful chopped mint leaves, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.