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Recipe: Thyme and Fennel Steamed Salmon

Many people, if not all of us, have experienced bland steamed food.  The perception of steaming, in general is that it doesn’t add flavor or depth to a dish.   In general, the addition of a fat (vegetable oils or butter, for example) gives dimension to a dish, but adding fat is not the only way to do that! Particularly because oils add about 120 calories per tablespoon, so the fat content of a meal can skyrocket very quickly.

Aromatic herbs and vegetables are good choices when steaming food.  They’ll add depth and flavor without adding a lot of fat.  Some examples of commonly used aromatic vegetables include the trifecta of onion, carrots, celery.  When used in most dishes, the combination of the 3 is called mirepoix.  Other examples include: garlic, herbs, or peppercorns.

A good strategy is to combine aromatics to your steam basket in order to boost the flavor of the food.  Here, I use a combination of cilantro, lemon and fennel – but feel free to try your own combinations too!

Thyme and Fennel Steamed Salmon

Serves 4

  • 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1-2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 handful thyme, roughly chopped, plus 4-6 sprigs (halved)
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved, cored, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons – 1 thinly sliced and 1 in wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare a pot with at least ¾” with water (though you can use more if you’re using a deep pot).  In a steamer basket, place the salmon fillets skin side down.  Salt and pepper the fish, then layer the remaining ingredients in the following order: olive oil spray, ginger, thyme, fennel and lastly, the thinly sliced lemon.

Bring the water to a boil and carefully place the steam basket on top.  Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until the fillets flake in the middle.  Be careful to add enough water to the pot or it will dry and you can’t steam fish in a dry pot!  You may need to add some partway through the cooking process.  Remove the steamer from the pot and serve with a lemon wedge, the steamed aromatics, and sprigs of thyme.

344 calories ∣ 189 calories from fat ∣ 21 g fat ∣ 3 g saturated fat (but mostly omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fat) ∣ 5 g carbs ∣ 2 g fiber ∣ 35 g protein ∣ Good source of vitamins B6, B12 and C ∣ Niacin ∣ Thiamin

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