What you’ll need
Steamer basket, bamboo steamer, or heatproof shallow bowl
Parchment paper or aluminum foil
Cooking with steam produces moist fish with clean flavors and little added fat. There are several different methods to steam fish: use a simple steamer basket or bamboo steamer; wrap fish in a parchment paper or foil packet, also known as en papillote; or steam fish directly in a skillet.
Traditional stovetop steaming: Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Arrange fish in a single layer on a heatproof plate and season with aromatics. Set the plate into a bamboo steamer or metal steamer basket and place over the pot. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam until the fish gently flakes around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet.
Steaming without a basket: Arrange three 1-inch balls of aluminum foil in the bottom of a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid and fill with 1 inch of boiling water. Arrange the fish on a heatproof plate and set the plate on top of the aluminum balls. Cover and steam as directed above.
Steam-baking in parchment paper or aluminum foil: Place sliced vegetables and fish on a rectangle of parchment or foil, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
Loosely wrap the parchment or foil around the fish, leaving room for steam to expand, and tightly crimp the edges to seal.
Place on a sturdy baking sheet and bake at 400ºF until the packet is puffed and the fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes, depending on thickness of the fillet. Open carefully to release the steam before serving.
Shallow steaming: Sauté aromatics and vegetables in a skillet. Add the fish and dot with butter. Add a few tablespoons of wine to the skillet, then cover tightly and steam over medium heat until fish gently flakes around the edges, 5 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet.