Marmite is a somewhat polarising spread. (Their slogan is "Love it. Hate it.") Made from brewer's yeast, the salty paste is the British answer to Vegemite. Like Vegemite, it has an umami-packed, almost condensed-soy-sauce-like flavour that can be overwhelming in large amounts. Add just a smidge, though, and you'll boost the savoury-factor of whatever you're eating many times over.
Photo by Stewart Black.
Though I am not fortunate enough to live in the land of Marmite chips and cheese, I like to make my own Marmite treats, and infuse my life with salty goodness. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Roasted chicken: Mix a couple of teaspoons of Marmite with your favourite cooking oil and slather it all over chicken breasts, thighs or an entire chicken. Roast as usual.
- Roasted vegetables: You can try the official Marmite Roasties recipe from the the Marmite site, or you can simply mix a big spoon of the savoury spread with some cooking fat — duck fat, perhaps? — and toss them with your favourite vegetables before popping them in the oven. (Alternative idea: Make your own damn Marmite crisps, in the microwave, no less.)
- Soups: Marmite has an umami-packed, stock-like flavour that can punch up any broth. Just whisk a few teaspoons in to whatever soup you happen to be stirring, or use it as the base for a vegetarian-friendly French onion.
- Pasta: Queen Nigella Lawson mixes Marmite with butter and parm for a super savoury spaghetti dinner. Want something a little richer? Use it to boost your carbonara.
- Popcorn: Whisk a teaspoon of Marmite into some melted butter and drizzle over hot popcorn. If it gets a little soggy, you can always crisp it up in the oven as Jamie Oliver does here.
- Sauces and Gravies: Make a meaty-tasting but animal-free gravy using Marmite as your base, or use it to jazz up brunch with Marmite hollandaise.
I've also seen some Marmite cocktails floating around the world wide web, but have yet to try them. I don't know about this Gold Rush situation — which pairs the yeast spread with grapefruit juice — but I bet it'd be good in a Bloody Mary.