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How to best cook fish

Fresh or frozen, fish is a tasty, nutritious choice that’s easy to prepare. Marinate it, bake it or grill it on the BBQ—the possibilities are endless! Here’s a short guide on how to best cook fish.

Three tricks for tasty fish

1Eat it the day you buy it

Freshness will be optimal on day one. If you have to keep it for a day or two, wrap it in wax paper and put the fish in an airtight container in the fridge. Avoid wrapping it in plastic wrap, which prevents the fish from breathing.

2Thaw it well

Put the fish in the fridge in its packaging or on a plate covered with plastic wrap. It should take about a day to fully thaw, longer for a whole fish. Don’t have time? Rinse the fish in cold water in its packaging or in a tightly sealed bag. Make sure to wipe it dry before cooking.

3Brush it with flavour

Soften the fish and give it more flavour by marinating it—use citrus juice, aromatic oils, fresh herbs, garlic or ginger—for no more than 30 minutes.

Grilling techniques for picture-perfect fish


Every type of whole fish can be baked on the BBQ. All you need to do is gut it, remove the fins with scissors, then make small cuts in the skin on both sides of the fish. Keep the skin on as it protects the flesh and gives it a lot of flavour.
The smaller the fish, the higher the heat. Bigger fish requires less intense heat. You can also cook fish indirectly by placing it on a piece of aluminum foil.

2Wrap it

Put a piece of parchment paper on a piece of aluminum foil, brush the surface with oil and place the fish inside, skin first. Add veggies and herbs to taste, spritz with a bit of wine or lemon juice, then wrap up firmly in the foil. Let broil for about 15-20 minutes without turning.

3Indonesian Style

Inspired by Indonesian tradition, this technique consists of cooking fish on an aromatic base placed directly on the grill. You can use orange or lemon slices, as well as pineapples, fennel or even bouquets of fresh herbs. Cooking on a wood plank also works well with this technique.
The fragrant smoke created by the fruit offers a complex aroma. Once the fish is cooked, remove the base ingredients from the grill.


Almost all fish can be cooked directly on a BBQ grill provided they’re in good condition and properly oiled. The less fragile cuts, such as steaks, are ideal for this type of cooking. Choose cuts that are thick and robust, such as halibut, grouper, salmon or swordfish. Place the fish skin first, brush it with olive oil while cooking and turn it once.

5Fish kebabs

Soak the wooden skewers in warm water for about 30 minutes. This will help keep them from burning while the kebabs cook.

Oven baking whole fish

Setting a beautifully cooked whole fish at the center of your table is guaranteed to impress any guests. Not only that, it is also the easiest way to cook fish. Here are some suggestions on how to do it.

1En papillote

Place a whole fish, with or without stuffing, in a packet of parchment paper or aluminum foil. The papillote allows the fish to cook in its own juices, preserving moistness. Cooking a stuffed fish en papillotte will increase cooking time because of the increased thickness. Fish will cook more slowly in parchment than in aluminum, which conducts more heat.


Place the whole fish in court-bouillon or fish stock in an uncovered oven-safe casserole. Baste the fish often to prevent it from drying out. The fish is cooked when the flesh is opaque throughout and the skin is crispy.

Expert Tips

Estimate the cooking time based on the size of the fish from its thickest point, including stuffing if need be, at approximately 10 to 12 minutes per inch (2.5 cm) of thickness for thin fish and about 12 to 15 minutes per inch for fish with denser flesh, such as halibut or tuna.

To determine if it’s done, open up the flesh at its thickest point. It should be opaque and the liquid clear. If your fish is cooked to perfection, it should melt in your mouth.

Three types of fish to try


Its firm, flavourful flesh, varying in colour from white to pink, can be prepared in many ways (grilled, roasted, pan-fried or poached) and is best accompanied with sauce as it has a tendency to be dry. To enjoy mahi-mahi Tahitian style, dice and marinate it in lime juice and herbs, then serve it with coconut milk.


There are various types of tuna. Red tuna, the biggest member of the tuna family, has red, strongly flavoured flesh that is excellent for sushi. Albacore, sometimes called white tuna, has delicate, white flesh. Bonito, a striped tuna, is dried and flaked. Yellowfin is a type of albacore with pale, succulent flesh. Fresh tuna can be grilled, braised, wrapped in foil, in a court-bouillon or steamed and can be substituted for swordfish in most recipes.


Its firm, sweet, delicate, white flesh keeps its shape during cooking. Tilapia can be poached, braised, grilled or fried, and is also great in fish soup. It can replace haddock, cod or Boston bluefish in most recipes.

Nutritional Value

Tuna generally contains 4% to 6% fat and is considered a semi-fatty fish. It is very rich in vitamins A, D and B12 and in omega-3 fatty acids. Monkfish, tilapia and mahi-mahi are all considered lean fish.


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