The Cooking Chronicles: Marvellous Marinades

Until recently, I hadn’t experimented much with marinades. No reason for it, save perhaps that no recipes had really caught my eye. While I know marinades can help with breaking down tougher cuts of meat, the two dishes I made in the last two weeks helped demonstrate two other fantastic uses for marinades – for adding flavour and boosting moisture.

Soy Baked Fish

One of the objectives of Donna Hay’s recipes in No Time To Cook is to offer flavourful dishes that can be made in a relatively short amount of time. The soy baked fish is a great example – a meal in half an hour, with less than ten ingredients.

Ocean Odyssey was unfortunately closed that Sunday, so we used whitefish from the Sobeys down the street. The fish was marinated in soy, sesame oil, brown sugar, leeks, and garlic for five minutes on each side, then placed on top of Peas on Earth gai lan, marinade and all, and baked for about twenty minutes. Served with rice, it made a quick but tasty supper, and given the results with such minimal effort, it is something I’d definitely make again.

Soy baked fish

Soy baked fish

Balsamic Pesto Chicken

Dish Entertains is one of those cookbooks I return to again and again – for dinner parties, for desserts, for weeknight meals. The balsamic pesto chicken was a recipe that I passed over the first time, but came back to this week, knowing that I had a fresh batch of pesto in the fridge to use, made with leftover basil from Morinville Greenhouses.

The marinade is a combination of a 1/4 cup pesto, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil and salt and pepper. 3 boneless chicken breasts are then marinated anywhere from 2 hours to overnight (I left it for about 5 hours), then baked off with the marinade in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.

The marinade helped the chicken retain its moisture, though I would have wished for more basil flavour – the balsamic was undoubtedly dominant. We served the chicken with some roasted root vegetables and leftover rice.

Balsamic Pesto Chicken

Balsamic pesto chicken (not the most visually appealing dish, but tasty!)

Thanks to Trish Magwood for another solid recipe!