With the proliferation of Italian food and seasonings in many grocery stores, it is easy to choose an Italian chicken marinade that will taste good and work well with any cut of chicken. There are a number of recipes that use short cuts, and they garner good results with items such as salad dressings. Classic spice mixes are easy to make from scratch in creating a marinade and will add a lot of flavor to the chicken. The best Italian chicken marinade will not only add a recognizable Italian taste to the dish but also will leave the meat tender and moist.
One of the easiest ways to create an Italian chicken marinade has long been to buy a bottle of Italian dressing. This is a convenient shortcut that could work well, depending on the quality of the commercial dressing. It has all the elements of a true marinade and can produce decent-tasting chicken. A better method of using this shortcut may be to purchase a dry salad dressing mix and add oil and vinegar at home in proportions that are more favorable to marinating; this primarily involves that addition of extra vinegar. The salad dressing also can be enhanced with the addition of extra garlic or onion to taste.
To make a classic Italian chicken marinade from scratch also is relatively easy. Other than oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and onion, all that needs to be added is a mix of spices that appeals to the people who will be eating the chicken. The spices used in Italian dishes most often include parsley, basil and oregano. Garlic and red pepper flakes also can be added, but the amounts are up to personal taste.
The acid used in an Italian chicken marinade is almost always vinegar. Balsamic vinegar can be used, but it has a strong flavor and should be toned down with some regular vinegar or lemon juice. The best marinade should include ingredients that everyone will like.
There are many Italian spices that can be added to a marinade to make it one of the best. Rosemary and sage are two herbs that are excellent with chicken, although the sage may begin to acquire an off taste after a while. Fennel can be used to provide a unique liquorish flavor to the chicken. Finally, a bay leaf can sometimes add a very subtle, deep undertone when used fresh in an Italian chicken marinade.