This post is a part of Heinen’s Kitchen Tips and Techniques series designed to give everyone the skills and confidence they need to make any recipe. Videos, photographs and descriptions were provided by Heinen’s partner, Chef Billy Parisi.
Marinating is an easy way to infuse great flavor into any protein like pork, chicken, beef and fish. It even works on vegetables.
The two ingredients that you need to create a marinade are acid and salt. By acid, I mean some sort of vinegar or citrus like lemon, lime or orange.
Salt is a great way to season your marinade, but I also recommend adding a few other flavor enhancers such as fresh or dried herbs and, of course, fat such as olive oil or regular oil. Including fat is important because when marinating foods that are low in fat such as chicken, fish and vegetables, adding fat will bring out great flavor.
With that being said, I think it’s about time that I show you how to create a delicious and easy marinade. It’s called Mojo.
How to Make a Mojo Marinade
Making this Mojo marinade is extremely simple and it all starts with adding orange juice to a blender followed by onions, garlic cloves, olive oil and dried spices including cumin, oregano and salt and pepper. Simply blend until all of the ingredients are combined and the marinade is smooth.
One tip I always suggest after blending is to taste your marinade. You want it to be very intense in flavor because you’re not eating the marinade itself, you’re eating the thing that it is marinating. All of those intense flavors need to penetrate so that your meat, fish or veggies are extremely flavorful.
How to Use a Marinade on Meat
When it comes to marinating, I like to place everything in a plastic Ziploc bag. You can also use a container if that’s what you have on hand.
Add whatever it is you want to marinate into the bag, today I am working with a pork shoulder. Pour the marinade all over the top, seal the bag and move the ingredients around.
It is important to note that you do not have to completely submerge your meat, fish of protein in the marinade. I recommend giving it a flip in the refrigerator every 2-3 hours to make sure all sides are completely covered.
If you choose to use a plastic bag, I recommend placing the bag in a plastic container prior to putting it in the refrigerator so that the bag does not slant or leak.
How Long to Marinate
A good rule of thumb is to marinate for 4-6 hours, but for the best results, I recommend marinating overnight.
The more time a marinade has to infuse into a protein, the more flavorful it becomes, but I definitely would not go over 48 hours as the acid can cause the proteins to break down and become stringy.
This does not mean that you have to prepare a marinade at night and cook your food in the morning. All you need to do is make your marinade the day before, start marinating, whether that is during the day or at night, and then the next day, whenever you’re ready to cook, take it out of the marinade and cook away!
There’s no need to be prescriptive. Just have fun!
How to use a Marinade on Shrimp
To keep things simple, I am going to marinade fresh shrimp in the same Mojo marinade I used on the pork.
Simply place the shrimp in a plastic container and pour the marinade over the top. If you’re working with a tall container, you will want to ensure that all of the shrimp is submerged.
Pop the lid on the container and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight.
There you have it! Like I said earlier, marinating is an easy way to bring our great flavor in food, but the fun doesn’t stop with this Mojo marinade. This Balsamic Vinaigrette is a delicious marinade for meats and veggies. Have some fun using acid, salt and fat to add great flavor into whatever it is you’re cooking!