You always marinate meats overnight
THE RESULT: Fish and seafood are overly salty and tough; meats are mushy and grainy.
THE FIX: Marinating is a simple and effective way to impart all kinds of flavors. But like many things, it’s best in moderation. Acidic marinades made with citrus, wine, and vinegar can compromise the texture and overwhelm the subtle flavors of the meat if left on too long. In general, small or delicate foods need only 15 to 30 minutes to soak up the flavors, and even the toughest cuts of meat don’t need more than 12 hours. Salt and other delicate seasonings tend to get lost in a strong marinade. Get the most out of seasonings by adding them directly to the meat after marinating, not to the marinade. Plan ahead (but not too far ahead) to avoid an overmarinated mess.