Be Brave – Steam a Fish, with Recipe

This is a recipe for steamed fish.

I’m proud to offer it, because, for years, I was afraid to steam even a fish filet.  I don’t know why it was so intimidating to me.  Turns out steaming is the easiest way in the world to cook one.  Equipment-wise, you do need a steamer.  Once you are so outfitted, though, you are golden.

The quality of fish is of utmost importance.  Mistress of the Obvious, perhaps.  But I think it is worth emphasizing that you want to select carefully, source it properly and you want it to be as fresh as possible.  The best fish to buy are wild caught flounder, haddock, trout, whitefish and sockeye salmon.  At least that’s what Dr Mercola tells me in his book, Fat for Fuel, and I think he knows what he’s talking about.  If the fish is clean, fresh and healthy, it’s really impossible to screw this recipe up.  It’s gonna turn out moist, flaky and perfectly seasoned.

My steamer is the metal kind, but you could also use a bamboo steamer if that’s your thing.  No other special equipment is needed.  I’ve been tempted to invest in a fancy fish spatula, the one with the little prongs that are stiff flexible enough to gently slide under any shape of fish and retrieve it, but I have yet to do so.  That still feels a bit Fish Diva to me, and anyways, my regular old spatula works just fine.

This recipe is inspired by the one in, It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julie Turshen.  I have made some additions to suit my taste, but it is still ridiculously simple.

A few minutes before the fish is done, I usually tuck in some asparagus stalks, broccoli or snap peas – whatever is on hand in the fridge and ready to go – in the white space in the steamer basket next to the fish.  (You could also parboil potatoes in a separate pot if you have them available, for a heartier side dish.)  The fish seasonings in this recipe, btw, hasn’t met a steamed veggie it doesn’t compliment.  And so… just like that, you have a one (steamer) pan meal.

It’s the ultimate in healthy, lazy and dee-lish.

This recipe is for two, and can easily by halved or doubled.  Depending on the size of your steamer, you may need to batch cook the fish.

I hope you are brave, and I hope you like it.

Steamed Fish, Asian Style
Course: Main Course
Servings: 2
  • 2 6-ounce white fish fillets
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely grated
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • soy sauce
  • spicy sesame oil
  1. Put a few inches of water into the bottom pan of a steamer and bring to boil.  Put a piece of parchment paper in the top part of the steamer and set the fish inside flat and not overlapping, skin side down.  When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium low and place the steamer basket with the fish on top.  Place the lid on top of the steamer basket.

  2. After 4 minutes, lift the lid and sprinkle the ginger and green onions on top of the fish.  Cook 1-4 more minutes, until the fish is opaque and flakey - the time will depend on the thickness of the fish.

  3. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and drizzle first with a few drops of spicy sesame oil and then with soy sauce, to taste.

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