Before your fish hits the grill, bathe it in flavour.

Five chefs from across Canada share their favourite marinades for a sustainable fish and seafood cook-out.

 Marinades create flavour, sometimes act as tenderizer and they make for healthier foods, typically low in cholesterol and saturated fat.  Marinades containing oil keep fish from sticking to the grill and take just minutes to prepare.


Acidic mixtures can react with metal so use a plastic or glass container. Better yet, a zipper-seal plastic bag.

Never save a marinade if it has been in contact with any raw fish or seafood.

 Set aside a portion of the marinade first if you want to use it for basting or as a sauce.

 Ingredients generally include acid (citrus, vinegar, wine), oil and spices. Keep the recipe light for flakier fish and seafood.

 Timing is crucial when marinating. Thick steaks can marinate up to three hours while tender fillets and shellfish need only 15 minutes—any longer in a high-acid marinade cooks the fish.

 Ned Bell, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver says this Pinot Noir, Maple and blueberry recipe is terrific with salmon, sablefish or halibut.

Directions: Combine 4 cups blueberries, 1 cup maple syrup, 2 cups Pinot Noir, 3 Tbsp each cracked black pepper and sea salt in a small pot and simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes.

Kyle Groves, Catch & the oyster bar, Calgary, marinates albacore tuna and mackerel in Togarashi (Japanese 7-spice) marinade.
Directions: Whisk together 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, 1 oz sesame oil, 2 Tbsp togarashi spice, zest of 4 oranges, zest of 2 lemons and zest of 2 limes and heat until barely simmering. Allow to cool at room temperature.

Jason Townes, Ryan Duffys, Halifax serves salmon with Adobo marinade.

Directions: Roast 2 poblano (or bell) peppers and 3 jalapeno peppers, remove stems and seeds. Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in a saucepan and add ¼ sliced onion, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 whole cloves, 3 broken cinnamon sticks, 12 black peppercorns and ½ tsp ground cumin. Cook until the onion is golden brown. Add the peppers and cook another few minutes. Add 1 ½ cups water and reduce by half. Press through a medium-mesh sieve. Discard the solids.

 Morgan Wilson, Trios Bistros, Toronto likes Moroccan marinade  with Branzini, catfish or Mahi Mahi.

Directions: Combine zest of 4 lemons, 1 Tbsp Harissa*, ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves and 4 Tbsp grape seed oil.

 * Condiment made primarily from roasted peppers, chili and spices, found at specialty grocers.

  Daniel Notkin, The Old Port Fishing Co, Montreal says marinated oysters are the next best thing to having them naked.

Directions: Steep ½ diced shallot and a pinch of salt and pepper in ¼ bottle champagne vinegar for one hour. Add the marinade to 12 shucked oysters and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Any fish and seafood can benefit from a marinade, from the most delicate and flaky small fish like trout and salmon to the firm big ones such as halibut and albacore tuna. But there are some to avoid. Here are five fish not to buy right now, based on Ocean Wise recommendations.

 Red Snapper

Salmon, farmed and Atlantic


Atlantic Cod

Tiger Prawn

Sole, Dover Sole and Common Sole


Togarashi marinade: - Good for fish that can go on the grill such as Albacore tuna, or Mackerel


1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1 oz sesame oil

2 Tbsp togarashi spice

zest of 4 oranges

zest of 2 lemons

zest of 2 limes


Whisk all ingredients together and then heat the marinade until the oil is warm enough that it is hot, but not uncomfortable to put your finger in it.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Marinade the fish in a zip lock bag for 4-6 hours then remove from the marinade, pat off excess oil with paper towel and then place the fish on the grill.

 Yuzu marinade for ceviche

 2 cups yuzu juice

1/2 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp honey

1 small birds eye chilli split in half

1 tsp salt

 Place thin slices of raw fish, scallops, or prawns (whole) in the marinade and allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours or until the seafood has turned a bright colour and feels firm to the touch.  Remove from the marinade and serve with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of Maldon salt.

 Miso mustard marinade - Great for baked sable fish or Halibut

 4 oz miso paste

1 litre orange juice

2 oz dijon mustard

2 oz maple syrup

salt to taste (depending on how salty your miso paste is)

 Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then cook at a low heat until it begins to get thick.  Cook the mix and then brush onto your fish.  Allow the marinade to penetrate the flesh for 2 hours and then bake the fish until it is properly cooked.  The marinade should be still on the fish and slightly sticky.  Season with salt if needed.