It offers a low calorie protein without high fat content, and steaming retains vitamins and minerals often lost in frying or searing.   Fish also is packed with omega 3 fatty acids that support cardiovascular health.   And steaming fish is easy.

Steaming a whole fish makes a dramatic presentation, but requires a fish monger for cleaning and scaling and a steamer large enough to hold the fish in one piece. Porgy, trout, snapper, flounder or striped bass are suitable for this preparation. For a more beginner and weeknight friendly alternative, choose fish fillets.  Cod, halibut, salmon or sole work well here.  Stay away from fish like swordfish or tuna that tend to toughen when steamed.

Steamed fish cook quickly, so some season it beforehand, usually by using an assertive, salty marinade.  Just make sure to keep the acid in the marinade low and the time limited to about 30 minutes.  More than an hour in an acidic brew and you will be steaming ceviche.

There’s more than one way to steam.  The traditional method is to use a stovetop bamboo or stainless steel steamer that suspends the fish on a rack over, but not touching, boiling water.  The pot is covered with a lid to keep the steam from escaping.  Another common technique is to encase the fish in aluminum foil, place it on a jelly roll pan, and put it in a preheated oven.

Vegetables can be steamed simultaneously with the fish, but you may have to stagger the start times to accommodate different cooking periods.  Fragrant ingredients like chopped ginger, crushed lemongrass, peppercorns, star anise or lemon peel can be added to the boiling water, or scattered over or under fish in a steamer rack or foil, to subtly perfume them.  Sake, wine, chicken broth or soy sauce also can be mixed into the water.

In Asia, steamed fish are often finished with a splash of hot oil sizzled with scallions, ginger or garlic then topped with herbs and soy sauce.  You also could add crushed dried chile or red pepper flakes for heat, a squeeze of lemon juice or rice vinegar for zing and toasted sesame seeds for garnish.  In the west a pat of butter or an olive oil drizzle may be added to steamed fish, perhaps with capers or halved olives.