‘Tis the seasoning!Posted by: Ren
Seasoning meat before it touches a source of heat is one of the easiest ways to infuse more flavour into a dish. Though it can be as simple as rubbing a piece of steak with a generous spoonful of salt, I’m all for exploring more unique options.
Dry spices, also referred to as rubs, are most delicious grilled or baked. Dry rubs are a choice option for multiple reasons; one, is the number of potential combinations that can be created. Another is simply the convenience—dry spices keep well and keep long. Wet spices, better known simply as a marinade, often create a lovely, sticky sauce, upping the flavour profile of whatever it is paired with. These marinades can be prepped the night before, stuck in a container so the meat simply needs to be baked, steam, or pan-fried at a moment’s notice.
The beauty of a spice blend is that there are few recipes that call for precise measurements. If you ask me, we could all use a little less perfectionism in our lives! Give these flavour combinations below a try for an easy way to amp up an easy weeknight dinner. Whether it be marinating for a full 24 hours or creating an easy rub that sits for a quick 30 minutes, a few extra dashes of oil, spice, or sauce can go a long way.
1. Ginger, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil
The sesame oil is crucial in this fragrant, Asian-inspired marinade. Don’t be shy- use plenty of each ingredient, and make sure to marinate overnight.
Excellent with fish, both steamed or pan fried! For an extra kick, add a chili or two.
2. Chipotle powder, oregano, onion powder, cumin
This southwestern rub is a favourite of mine, to the point where I often keep a small jar of it pre-mixed to sprinkle over a lazy nights’ dinner.
Tasty with ground beef: stir fry with onions to make a taco filling. It can be combined at the last minute for a spicy yet subtle kick, or left overnight for a deeper infusion of flavor. Also great with vegetables!
3. Paprika, cumin, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg
This fun spin on a North African-influenced rub will leave your tastebuds dancing.
Great with lamb or roasted carrots. Remember to rub with ample amounts of good olive oil, too. Rub, cover with foil, and roast!
4. Lemongrass, honey, fish sauce, shallots, lime, chilies and cilantro/coriander
Key flavours that are unmistakably Southeast Asian. Just a few drops of fish sauce will do, lest you like a more…well, fragrant sauce (and that’s putting it nicely).
Great with chicken legs- marinate in a large Ziploc bag, then stick in the oven for 25 minutes. Sticky, sweet, spicy, and fragrant—the BBQ of the east.
5. Fresh herbs: oregano, rosemary, marjoram, sage, combined with garlic and lemon.
A combo of any or all, definitely mixed with a hearty pour of olive oil. It’s a versatile European-style combination, and a marinade that can go with almost any protein.
Chop herbs and garlic coarsely, and let it sit for a few hours with your meat of choice. Great flame-grilled or broiled.