Go ahead, rub it in

November 28, 1999|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

Liquid marinades made with citrus juice, vinegar or wine are marvelous for breaking down the muscle fiber in tougher cuts of meat and for adding flavor. But here's the rub: Delicate fish can disintegrate in acidic liquids, and naturally tender cuts of meat need only a flavor boost -- not tenderizing.

A better technique for flavoring such foods is to treat them to a gentle massage with dried herbs and spices.

By making your own herb-and-spice rubs, you can custom-mix blends for beef, pork, lamb or fish. Each recipe below makes enough for 2 to 3 pounds of meat, poultry or fish.

To prepare the blends, combine the ingredients, mixing well. To use them, first wash the meat or fish and pat it dry. Lightly oil the surfaces of meat; use clarified butter for fish. Depending on your taste, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of rub per pound of meat or fish onto the surface of the food and rub it in. Let the food stand for an hour or more in the refrigerator.

Beef or Pork Rub

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lamb Rub

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fish Rub

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon tarragon

1 teaspoon basil

2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

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