Choosing The Right Olive Oil For Your Marinade

Olive oil is a staple in lots of marinade recipes, but people generally don’t give much thought to which olive oil their choosing to use. Like vinegar, different olive oils have different flavors and qualities and your marinade can gain an extra layer of flavor from picking the right one. You wouldn’t use apple cider vinegar for a recipe that calls for balsamic, and choosing the right olive oil can make the same difference.
Steak Marinades
Red meat does well with robust olive oil. The italian varietals are particularly appealing here and there are a number of varietals that are commonly blended together that create a wonderful flavor profile for steak.
This is one of our favorite marinades and it’s become a staple in our home. It usually goes on flank steak, but could easily be used on any steak that you’re grilling. While you can get away with marinading your steak for only hours, we recommend you let any tougher cuts sit overnight.
Steak about 1 – 2 lbs
1/2 cup of Robust Olive Oil
1 Lemon
4 Medium Cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsps salt
2 tsps fresh ground pepper
Start with a Robust Olive Oil. This recipe has a number of strong flavors and you’ll want to have an olive oil that can stand up to them.
If you have a tougher cut of meat, you may want to use a fork to dock the meat.
In a large plastic ziploc bag or a ceramic or glass baking dish, pour in the olive oil.
Cut a lemon in half and squeeze juice into the bag or dish. If you’re using a bag, add in the squeezed lemon halves, too. If you’re using a baking dish, you may need to cut these into smaller pieces.
Crush the Garlic Cloves with your hands or the flat side of a knife and remove the skins. Place these in your bag or dish.
Add in the rest of your ingredients
Massage the meat with the marinade for a few minutes and make sure that the meat is completely covered.
Refrigerate overnight
Lamb and Game Marinades
Lamb and game marinades benefit from using a robust, grassy olive oil with strong flavors. With lamb and game, the meat itself has a strong flavor your marinade will need to be strong as well for the flavors to come through.
Typically, with a leg of lamb, we go with a thin wet rub. Massaging the meat with liberal amounts of it really gets flavors going.
1 Leg of lamb
1 Bunch Rosemary
4 Medium Garlic cloves
Robust, Grassy Olive oil
2 – 3 tsps Salt
2 – 3 tsps Pepper
Remove the bone from the lamb or have a butcher remove it for you.
Remove any stems from the rosemary and place in a food processor
Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and add the food processor
Add the salt and pepper to the food processor
Turn your food processor on and slowly pour in your olive oil until you have a thin paste
Open up your leg of lamb. If you have any thick pieces of meat, butterfly them so that you have an even thickness.
With a pairing knife, poke some small holes all around the leg of lamb
With your hands massage the wet rub all over the leg and into the holes you created with the knife.
Wrap the lamb up with some butcher’s twine
Cover with plastic wrap
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Pork Marinades
Marinades can really help out pork. The meat dries out pretty easily when cooking and a no one likes a chewy pork chop. If you don’t cook much pork because of this, consider trying it again, using a marinade.
One other recommendation is to go to your butchers to pick up some thick, bone-in pork chops. They can handle lot of flavors and tend to be juicier with the bone. For this marinade we suggest a medium bodied olive oil. Something with some apple notes would go well, too.
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tsp lemon peel (grated)
1/4 c medium olive oil
2 – 3 sprigs fresh rosemary sprigs (stems removed) minced
2 medium fresh sage leaves minced
3 – 5 sprigs of fresh thyme (stems removed)
2 tsps salt
4 pork chops (thick)
Combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag or baking dish
Massage them into the meat
Refrigerate for at least 8 hours
Chicken Marinades
Chicken does not require very much time to marinade. The meat is delicate and if your marinade has a lot of citrus, it will begin to protein cook the chicken. You marinade will need to compensate for that by carrying intense flavors.
Every year we throw away untold amounts of Champagne after New Year’s Eve. Once it’s gone flat, it might not taste very good, but it will make a very nice marinade.
4-6 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
1/3 cup delicate olive oil preferably with apple /almond notes
1/4 cup dry champagne
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
2 medium cloves of garlic, whole, crushed
2 pinches of salt
If your champagne isn’t flat yet, it’s still OK to use. Just be aware that as you mix things it might get messy.
If some of your chicken breasts are very thick at some points, you may want to consider pounding them a little flatter, butterflying them or cutting them in half length-wise so that the meat cooks evenly.
Combine all of the ingredients in a plastic bag or baking dish.
Refrigerate 4 – 8 hours. If there is still carbonation in the champagne, stick to the 4 hour side of the time frame.
Fish Marinades
A lot of times, the best thing to do with fish is to brush is with some of the olive oil that you like, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and it’s ready for the grill! For meatier fish like Halibut, you can increase its flavor with a quick, fresh marinade.
1 small clove garlic, minced
6 tablespoons delicate – light olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 (6 ounce) fillets halibut
Combine all of the ingredients in a plastic bag or baking dish
Refrigerate for 1 hour
We’ve found lots of wonderful Extra Virgin Olive Oils and we hope you like them too!

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