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How to Steam Salmon with Chef Sunee

How to Steam Salmon with Ginger and Sizzling Sesame Oil - Wild Alaskan Salmon Cooking Video with Chef Kim Sunée

Why choose steamed salmon for dinner?

What’s great about steaming wild salmon is that it’s quick, easy and healthful. It’s the perfect choice for a busy weeknight when, in under ten minutes, you can create something so delicious and good for everyone!

But this recipe also lends itself to innovation, so if you want more spice, pizazz and accompanying vegetables under one roof, so to speak, you can have that, too!

How to steam wild salmon

We like to use a bamboo steamer, because it’s beautiful, lightweight and stackable, allowing us to cook foods requiring different cooking times. An expandable metal steamer basket works well for this dish, too. For either steamer, you need a large pan wide enough to hold it and the liquid you’ll use for steaming.

What liquid to choose

Steam suggests water, but we find it’s fun to experiment with wines and other liquids. In the video below, Chef Kim Sunee uses Txakolina, a white wine with fresh fruity and citrus tones, reminiscent of a light cider. It infuses the salmon with a wonderful flavor, and of course is delightful to drink along with your meal. (We also like saying, “chocolina!”) Other white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc work well with fish, as does vegetable broth. You can also simply add lemon, garlic or ginger to your water.

How to prepare your wild salmon for steaming

Cut your wild salmon filet in roughly equal pieces, and trim off the skin. (Or buy pre-cut 6 oz. portions like we sell at the Popsie Fish Company.) In the video, Chef Sunee demonstrates how to wrap each piece of wild salmon in a cabbage leaf. This will not only trap the steam, but will make a lovely presentation. (To make the cabbage leaves pliable for wrapping, you may want to steam them first, right in your steamer.)

You can also use parchment paper for individually wrapping each fish piece, or even cheesecloth. And you can steam your fish without wrapping it at all.

Steamed salmon and ginger

As you prepare your wild salmon, heat your liquid to the boiling point. Place each of your salmon pieces on a cabbage leaf or substitute wrap, if desired. Sprinkle salt, pepper and sliced (or grated) fresh ginger on each piece. That’s the basic approach, and that is absolutely all you need to add for your wild salmon to taste delectable.

Optional vegetables or lemon

However, if you want to further spice it up and add a few vegetables to your meal, consider small slices of chopped green onions, snow peas or bok choy. Another possibility is lemon slices. Fold up your wrap (if using) around each piece and secure. 

Steam until done

Place fish in your steamer so that each piece has its own space. Put on the lid, and turn down the temperature so the water isn’t boiling fiercely, but is just slowly roiling. Check after about four minutes. If you used thin pieces of salmon, they could be done. Larger pieces will take longer. As they are losing their transparency and becoming more opaque, they are approaching doneness. Remove before fully opaque, because their residual heat will tend to continue the cooking process a bit longer. You want your salmon moist and flaky.

The finishing touches

Now, for an easy finishing touch, heat a few tablespoons of sesame oil in a pan. Place your steamed fish on serving plates. At this point, Chef Sunee sprinkles more ginger, and some fresh basil and cilantro on each fish, and pours on a few drops of soy sauce. Finally, she drizzles hot sesame oil over all and listens to it sizzle! 

There you have it. Simple and streamlined, or spiced and succulent. Steamed wild Alaska sockeye salmon with ginger!


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