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Marinades, Rubs and Sauces

I don't know about you, but my grill is fired up and going like blazes.  Cooking on the grill can be as easy as you want it, or it can be an opportunity for creativity.  And Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School, who is a past master at grilling and a tremendously creative chef is planning to have a lot of fun this summer.

First, let's look at marinades.  Jerry has some definite thoughts about that.

·         It’s best to avoid salt in marinades. Salt pulls moisture out of food and it will cause whatever you are marinating in it to be less juicy. But remember to always salt the product just before cooking.

·         The more delicate the product, the shorter the marinating times – shrimp are good after just one or two hours, lamb chops may need at least 12 to 14 hours in the marinade.

·         If the reason for using a marinade is to tenderize tough cuts of meat, make sure there is a substantial amount of acid present…red wine is good, red wine vinegar is better.

·         Zip-lock bags work great for marinating food. Try to push as much air out as possible before you seal the bag. You can also use covered glass baking dishes.

·        Never reuse marinades. Some marinades also make great sauces, but don’t use the marinade that has had product in it. Make a separate batch to use as the sauce.

That being said, here are two very tasty marinades for seafood.

                        Garlic Lemon Marinade for Shrimp or Fish

Ingredients - will marinate up to 2 lbs. of shrimp or fish

  • 2 lemons, juice & zest
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and marinate the shrimp or fish for two hours in the refrigerator before roasting or grilling.

Asian Salmon Marinade

Ingredients – makes enough to marinate one large side of salmon or 4 lbs of salmon fillets.

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small knob ginger, finely grated
  • 4 green onions, green and white parts cut into ¼ inch disks
  • 2 tablespoons Sambal, or other garlic chili pasta

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and marinate the salmon for up to three hours in the refrigerator before roasting or grilling.

When it comes to rubs, Jerry has some important tips.

·         Rubs are mixes of spices and seasoning that add flavor but don’t tenderize. Dry rubs are, in fact, dry and powdery. Paste rubs are mixed with enough of a wet ingredient to form a paste. Both kinds of rubs should be patted onto the meat to form a coating or crust — remember to pat gently; don’t rub hard.

·         Again, avoid lots of salt in rubs that will be applied more than a few hours before cooking. There is an entire family of heavily salted rubs but these are for curing meats such as bacon and pork for dried coppa.

·         The more sugar in the rub the more likely it will be to first caramelize but then burn on the grill or in the oven. So with thick pieces of meat that will need to cook for long periods of time use much less sugar or cook at very low temperatures.

Jerry has sent over two easy rub recipes from Schola Cooking School.

                                    Coffee Brown Sugar Rub

Ingredients – makes enough to marinate 4 lbs. of beef

  • 2 cups finely ground coffee
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dried thyme
  • ¼ cup ground black pepper

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Gently pat the rub onto the meat and allow to sit, covered in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
  2. Scrape most of rub from the meat and season with salt before roasting or grilling.

Cuban Pork Rub

Ingredients – makes enough to rub a 4 lbs. pork loin

  • 20 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 5 oranges, zested plus ¼ cup juice
  • 5 limes, zested plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves or 2 tablespoons dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more if you’d like
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and purée until smooth.
  2. Gently pat the rub onto the meat and allow to sit, covered in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  3. Season the pork with salt before roasting or grilling.

Sauces – these can be used just on the table for a variety of poultry and meat but many are best brushed on just as the meat is finished cooking to add a bit of caramelization to the sauce and extra smoky flavor.

                                    Francis Mallmann’s Chimichurri

      – this sauce is used purely as a condiment

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tbs. coarse salt
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. crushed red- pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup red-wine vinegar
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place the water and salt in the microwave and heat briefly to dissolve the salt.
  2. Add the salt mixture and all of the remaining ingredients to a mason jar.
  3. Firmly screw on the lid and shake to combine. This can be used immediately, but gets better if allowed to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

                                                Schola’s BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 16 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 6 whole cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
  1. In a sauce pan set over medium high heat, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the tomato paste and raisins and cook an additional two minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  4. Using an immersion blender, purée the sauce until smooth. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

                                    Spicy Peach BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 cups finely chopped pitted peeled peaches (about 3 lb or 9 medium)
  • 1 cup finely chopped seeded roasted red bell pepper (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 14 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ cups honey
  • ¾ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. In a sauce pan set over medium high heat, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  3. Using an immersion blender, purée the sauce until smooth. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. 
Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.