The ultimate summer house 4-ingredient marinade

6 Jul

Is it only foodie types who find extra pleasure in vacation cooking? The unhurriedness of it, the departure from the usual routine and the usual supermarket. Even non-cooks can make an event of boiling water and corn after a day at the beach, or doing burgers on a rental house grill—if only because there are usually extra hands around for clean-up.

Scenes from Hatchs Produce

Scene's from Hatch's Produce

This is especially true if you’re in the habit of visiting a particular vacation spot with some regularity—a habit so ingrained in New Englanders  that the annual family trek to Maine or Cape Cod takes on an air of religious obligation. In the kitchens of our family and (ahem) rental cottages, a Vacation Repertoire emerges—a handful of generally easy-to-make recipes that are unique to the particular time and place. These meals get added to the list of things, like watching the sunset at Duck Harbor Beach or going to the drive-in, that absolutely must happen, lest the whole week be a complete failure.

Or maybe it’s just me who does this?

Anyway, this marinade is my vacation dinner ritual. It’s brilliant because it a) tastes great and b) as the title indicates, requires just four ingredients. Four! That leaves plenty of room in your cooler for the fancy vinegars and Splenda packets and soy milk you insist on schlepping in from home.

Soup to nuts

Here it is:

3 parts olive oil*

3 parts soy sauce

2 parts honey


Use it with any meaty, steak-like fish, such as tuna, salmon, or swordfish. Put the fish in a zip-top bag with the marinade and let sit at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.

As for how much garlic to use, it really is up to you. Last night, I used 3 tablespoons each of oil and soy sauce, 2 tablespoons honey, and about 5 cloves of fresh MA-grown garlic from Hatch’s Produce.

This was plenty of marinade for two thick tuna steaks from Hatch’s Fish Market.

Hatch’s, you say? Why the sudden product placement? Well…let me put it this way: Back when we lived in San Francsico, I spent a good deal of time and an obscene portion of each paycheck at the famous Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. That’s an impressive place. World class. But shopping at Hatch’s on a sunny day in July as owner Rob McClellan shows off his crew’s first-place trophy from the annual Wellfleet Fourth of July parade homemade float competition? Way better.

Sea creature comforts

Sea creature comforts

* You may notice that the middle photo in the “marinade collage” up above presents what it obviously a bottle of honey, a bottle of soy sauce, some garlic…and a dish of what can’t possibly be olive oil. It’s not. It’s the mango butter my mother-in-law brought up from Miami, which I used in addition to the oil. You do not, however, need any mango butter. Plenty of flavor without it. But that’s another great thing about this recipe: It’s eminently adaptable!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: