Marinating is a great way to infuse different flavours into meat, fish and poultry. It is especially suitable for game meat, and venison.
Sea salt is used in Brazil to season meat prior to cooking.
It can also be mixed with water to make a brine used to baste the meat. The combination works extremely well, especially for slow cooked beef, mutton, and lamb.
Whatever you’re cooking, season the meat first. Then add a marinade. Larger cuts of meat can be left for 2 or 3 days to marinate. Smaller cuts of meat may need only a few hours. Fish and poultry require as little as 30 minutes, depending on the size.
Simply steep the meat in the marinade, cover and refrigerate. Here are some excellent Brazilian-style marinades to try:
Fish and Poultry
2 1/2 cups of olive oil, the juice of one lime, 1/4 cup of white wine, thyme, chopped parsley and a bay leaf. Lime juice, with fresh chopped corainder, parlsey, spring onions, marleguetta peppers (hot chillie peppers) and olive oil.
Lamb, Mutton, Goat and Beef
Lime juice, crushed garlic, finely chopped anchovies, onions, chopped rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, red wine (Shiraz is preferred) and peppercorns. Leave for 48 hours.
Rubs and Pastes
If you like to have some herbs or marinades on hand, make a paste. It keeps refridgerated for up to 3 months conserved in salt. They’re easy to make, add great flavor, and save time.
Simply add the cassava flour (farinha de mandioca) mixed with a little olive oil late in the cooking process, return it to the heat, and barbeque for 20 minutes or so until the flour is lightly toasted.
Finely chop a clove of garlic with the addition of a tablespoon of salt. The salt draws the moisture from the garlic to form a paste.
Finely chop spring onions, cilantro, parsley and garlic, place in a pestle and mortar (pirao) add salt and macerate until a paste forms.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound 100 grams of anchovies, a squeeze of lime juice, and olive oil to form a thick paste, which you can spread over the meat.
Finely chopped rosemary leaves, the juice of one lime, salt, and olive oil, macerated in a pestal and mortar to form a paste. Great with lamb, mutton and goat.
Cuts of lime, garlic sauce and malaguetta (a type of pepper) sauce are typical table condiments in Brazil. Especially with a churrasco.
The great thing about rubs, pastes and marinades, is that there are no rules, and you are only limited by your own imagination. Any of the recipes above can be changed to suit your palate. Have fun cooking and experiment. It’s part of the adventure.