So Much Flavor! The Only 5 Marinades You'll Need This Summer

Katie Workman, author of The Mom 100 Cookbook and creator of themom100.com blog,

shares 5 recipes for flavorful marinades.

At the end of a hot summer day, we all like to throw a piece of chicken or fish or steak on the grill, and eat dinner with no fuss in short order. But no one wants to skimp on flavor! With these 5 super simple marinades you’ll turn more basic piece of protein into a meal you’d be happy to serve your family and anyone who might happen by on a warm summer evening.

Dijon Mustard and Lemon Vinaigrette

Dijon Mustard and Lemon Vinaigrette

Katie Workman

If you want one boilerplate marinade for the summer, this is it. Perfect for chicken, shrimp, and any kind of fish. Marinate chicken for at least 4 hours, up to 12 in the fridge, shrimp for 1 to 2 hours, and fish for 30 minutes. The mustard helps emulsify the marinade, making it thicker so it really clings to the food.

Makes 2/3 cup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 lemons, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Put the olive oil, shallots, lemon zest and juice, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl of a jar with a lid. Whisk or shake to combine well.

Ginger, Mint, and Lime Marinade

Ginger, Mint, and Lime Marinade

Katie Workman

This is lovely on pork chops or kebabs, chicken, shrimp, and any flaky thick white fish. Marinate pork or for at least 4 hours, up to 12 in the fridge, shrimp for 1 to 2 hours, and fish for 30 minutes. A great accompaniment would be Pineapple, Mint and Jalapeno Salsa.

Makes 2/3 cup

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Put the olive oil, ginger, garlic, mint, lime juice,salt and pepper in a bowl of a jar with a lid. Whisk or shake to combine well.

Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade

Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade

Katie Workman

This marinade packs a lot of flavor, thanks to the chili paste and the sesame oil. A tablespoon or so of minced fresh peeled ginger wouldn’t hurt either. It’s great on beef, chicken or pork kebabs, and also wonderful with tofu. Marinate the meat for kebabs in the fridge for 4 to 6 hours, and after pressing the tofu (see Note), marinate tofu for 1 to 2 hours.

Makes 2/3 cup

¼ cup vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup soy sauce 1 tablespoon sesame oil 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin), sake or dry sherry
1 teaspoon spicy chili paste (or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes)

1. Put the vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, rice wine, and chili paste in a bowl of a jar with a lid. Whisk or shake to combine well.

Note: Tofu is sold packed in water, so it's hard to get it really browned. Pressing it helps. Place the block of tofu on a large flat plate, place a paper towel on top, then place a second plate on the paper towel. Place a heavy book or some cans of beans on the top of the plate, and let it drain for about 45 minutes. Pour off the liquid, and cut the tofu into slices or cubes.

Jamaican Jerk-Style Marinade

Jamaican Jerk-Style Marinade

Katie Workman

If you have a blender of a food processor, this marinade comes together in two shakes. It’s great on pork and chicken. Marinate for 4 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Serve with lots of rice, greens and salsa.

Makes 3/4 cup

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch nutmeg (optional)

1. Put the vegetable oil, lime juice, scallions, garlic, jalapeno, allspice, ginger, brown sugar, salt and pepper (and nutmeg if using) in a bowl or a jar with a lid. Whisk or shake to combine well. Or, pulse in a food processor or blender.

Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade

Indian Curry Yogurt Marinade

Katie Workman

Great on lamb, great on chicken, great on salmon. The yogurt acts as a tenderizer for the meat, and provides a rich, cooling counterpoint to the rich spices. Basmati rice is great with this. Lamb and chicken should marinate from 4 to 12 hours in the fridge, salmon for 1 hour. Cilantro haters should feel free to use parsley.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (preferably Greek)
½ cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the yogurt, onion, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl or a jar with a lid. Whisk or shake to combine well.

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