Marinades are a great resource to have on hand for barbecues. They’re easy to prepare and will quickly up-level the flavor of your meals.
I’ve highlighted just 4 ingredients from the French Pantry Checklist to use in the 2 marinade recipes below. But you can also use many of the other items on the list for various marinades to give you a rich range of flavors!
The History of Marinades:
The main function of marinades historically was to preserve the quality of the meat being cooked. The word “Marinade” originates from “seawater,” which describes the brine used in antiquity to preserve food.
So to enhance your summer dishes, here is a selection of 2 delicious oils and 2 spices from the French Pantry Checklist you can use for marinating meat for your barbecues.
4 French Pantry Checklist Ingredients for Marinade Recipes
1. FRENCH SAFFRON
Saffron was originally imported to France for use in dyeing, medicine, perfumery, or as a spice.
Saffron production began in France around the 8th century through the importation of bulbs by the Moors.
Today, nearly 200 farms cultivate saffron throughout France for a total production of around 100 kilos.
Amazon.com sells several high-quality non-GMO verified saffron, although not from France. Here are two:
- Golden Saffron-Pure premium saffron threads on Amazon.com
- Gathering of Saffron-Pure Spanish saffron threads on Amazon.com
2. FRENCH WALNUT OIL
Walnut oil is produced in several areas in France, but it is strongly linked to the gastronomic heritage and know-how of the Périgord region.
In the Périgord production area alone, around 150 to 200,000 liters of virgin walnut oil are produced every year.
Amazon.com sells two high-quality French walnut oils:
- J. LeBlanc French Walnut Oil Stone Milled Cold Pressed (J. Leblanc is expensive: 16 oz costs around $27, but it’s the top quality used by French chefs and one of my favorite brands)
- La Tourangelle Roasted French Walnut Oil, 16 oz.
There are several websites that sell California walnut oil. Make sure it’s cold-pressed and food grade and not refined oil to be used for cosmetic purposes.
3. PIMENT D’ESPELETTE
Piment d’Espelette is the first and only French spice to obtain the AOP, or Protected Designation of Origin, in 2002. This label is a signature of excellence and a guarantee of quality.
The production area is limited to 10 municipalities in the French Basque region.
Amazon.com has several suppliers of authentic French Piment d’Espelette that have the AOC seal:
1. Biperduna– Red Chili Pepper Powder from France by Biperduna on Amazon.com
2. Matiz – Organic Piment d’Espelette Pepper from Basque France on Amazon.com
3. Gourmanity – Piment d’Espelette French Red Chili Pepper Non GMO on Amazon.com
4. FRENCH OLIVE OIL
French olive oil is unique and is the result of the dedication of men and women who use their know-how to offer high-quality products.
France has about one hundred varieties of olive trees, about fifteen production areas, and 270 private or cooperative mills.
Olive Oil Lovers is a reliable online source in the U.S. with a high-quality French olive oil tasting kit. It’s a great way to get familiar with different French olive varietals.
They also have a great selection from around the world of a variety of high-quality olive oils.
Why and How to Marinate Food?
Marinating is a way to add flavor to your meat or fish. The marinade will not only add extra flavor but will also tenderize the piece of meat you’re cooking.
The 3 basic ingredients for an easy marinade:
Keep these 3 basic ingredients and dosages in mind for all of your marinade recipes:
1.One measure of an acidic ingredient:
The acid will cause the meat to become tender and the absorption of the flavors to be optimal. Some examples of acidic ingredients are vinegar, wine, sherry wine, lemon juice, and yogurt.
2. One measure of a fatty ingredient:
This ingredient ensures that the meat does not dry out. Examples are olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil.
3. One or two measures of condiments:
The condiments will take you from a good marinade to a great marinade! Take fresh or dry spices, onion, garlic, mustard, soy sauce, sugar, honey, ginger and salt, chili powder, or peppers.
How long should meat marinate?
The basic rule is the thinner your piece of meat, the less time it will need to marinate.
If your marinade is too strong, it could overpower the taste of your meat. Acidic ingredients can make your meat too mushy or too dry if you let it marinate for too long.
Take the following marinade times as benchmarks:
15 – 30 minutes: small foods like shellfish or fish fillet.
1 – 3 hours: thin pieces of meat (without bones) such as chicken fillet, steak, or pork tenderloin.
2 – 6 hours: large pieces of meat with or without bones. For example a whole chicken, roast beef, or a rack of lamb.
These are the benchmarks we follow when grilling on our charcoal barbecue at home.
Below is a photo of the simple Weber charcoal grill we use (with my husband enjoying a glace of wine in the background while waiting for the fire to be ready!).
I prefer the taste of charcoal grilled meat which I find I can’t get when using an electric barbecue grill.
Here’s the link to our Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill on Amazon.com.
Two French Barbecue Marinade Recipes
1. MARINADE WITH SAFFRON
This marinade can be used for barbecued pork, chicken, or veal or grilled on a plancha. The meat will be soft, tasty, and slightly caramelized.
For 600 g of meat:
100 ml of sweet white wine (like French Pineau des Charentes)
50 ml of oil of your choice
1 pod of saffron
1 clove of garlic
1 pinch of Espelette pepper
-Mix all the ingredients and add the meat.
-Leave to marinate for about 1 hour before grilling.
2. MARINADE FOR SMOKED PORK WITH OLIVE OIL, WALNUT OIL, AND PIMENT D’ESPELETTE
Ingredients for 2 people – Preparation 15 min – Cooking 10 to 12 min – Marinade 6 h
1 – 4 slices of smoked pork belly
2 – 1 red onion
3 – 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
4 – 4 cl of olive oil
5 – 3 cl of walnut oil
6 – 3 cl of sherry vinegar
7 – 1 small tin of tomato pulp
8 – thyme, rosemary
9 – Espelette pepper, sweet paprika, salt, and pepper
-Peel and cut the red onion into strips.
-Peel, degerm the garlic, and chop.
-Wash the thyme and rosemary.
-In a glass dish, mix the oils and vinegar, and add the chopped onion and garlic, tomato pulp, herbs (thyme, rosemary), sweet paprika, Espelette pepper, and salt.
-Place the pork belly slices in the glass dish with the marinade mixture, turn them over, cover with cling film, and set aside in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
-After 3 hours, take out of the refrigerator, turn the slices to the other side, and put them again in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
-Once the marinating time has elapsed, take the slices out of the refrigerator, drain them, and grill them on the barbecue or a plancha.
You can also place them on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and put them in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes on each side (depending on the oven and the thickness of the slices).
Marinades are a quick and easy way to enhance the flavor of your meals. The marinade will not only add extra flavor but will also tenderize the piece of meat you’re cooking.
You can use many of the other items on the French Pantry Checklist, such as peppercorns, oils, spices, and herbs, as a base for various marinade recipes.
The possibilities are almost endless and give you a range of rich flavors!
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