Briny, lemony, and cooked until flakey and tender. This steamed salmon with lemon and capers might be the easiest, and most delicious salmon dish you are ever going to make.
Let’s be real salmon, lemon, and capers just GO together, especially in this delicate, and lovely steamed salmon dish. Coming together with just a few ingredients this versatile and scalable dish is great to pull together on for a weeknight dinner, or even a dinner party. Similarly, to my Coconut Steamed Cod recipe, this dish requires minimal clean up, only one pot, and is done in under 30 minutes.
Not a fan of capers? I totally get it! This recipe was actually inspired by What’s Gabby Cooking Steamed Salmon with Herbs and Garlic. Check out her recipe if you are looking for a more lemon fresh herbs flavor profile over a briny lemon flavor.
FLAKEY, BUTTERY STEAMED SALMON
If you love salmon, then this dish is for you. Not only is it incredibly quick and easy to pull together but the result is a lovely, flakey, and juicy fish every time. While I used fresh fillets for this dish feel free to reach into the freezer and defrost frozen fillets. This dish is all about convenience without sacrificing flavor. Coming from someone who has worked with a few salmon brands, good frozen salmon can be just as good as fresh. If going the fresh route get 6-7 oz fillets. I personally purchase my salmon in 1 piece and butcher it myself, but if you can buy individual thick fillets precut it will save you a few minutes of prep.
When buying fresh salmon keep in mind that you should cook it within 24 hours if not the same day. Please do not buy this days in advance. While there are several different varieties of salmon, here are a few tips on picking the best fresh salmon at the grocery store.
Color – While color will vary from light pink to deep orange depending on the variety, stay away from salmon that is gray or brown in color. In addition, avoid fish with dark spots are darkening around the edges. Feel– A fresh salmon fillet should be firm to the touch and spring back when poked. If it doesn’t spring back or is soft, stay away. Look for salmon that is moist (sorry) and not dried out or even worse slimy. Smell– This seems obvious, but fresh salmon should smell fresh and not overly fishy or sour.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
I rarely include this section because the answer is typically obvious—it’s absolutely delicious. However, some dishes need a bit more explanation than others.
One Pot Wonder – This dish is a one pot wonder (that is if you forget about the prep bowl). One pot = less dishes during clean up. Win, win, win.
Minimal Cleanup – The recipe instructs you to line a pan with parchment paper, and while the benefits might be obvious to some, I occasionally receive questions about why. Not only does the parchment paper cook the fish more gently, allowing it to remain whole, but it also makes cleanup a breeze.
Quick + Easy + Family Friendly – Under 30 minutes, with minimal effort, and featuring a flavor profile that appeals to everyone from parents to children.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE STEAMED SALMON
Salmon – 6-7 oz fillets, skin still on.
White Wine – Pick a nice dry white wine that you would enjoy drinking. Personally, I love a Sauvignon Blanc for this particular dish, but if you prefer Pinot Grigio, that works as well.
Broth – Chicken or vegetable. I like to stay away from low sodium broths since I find myself overcompensating with additional salt later on. However, if you are on a low sodium diet this is an okay option.
Garlic – Fresh only, as always! Sliced thin.
Onion – White or yellow. The onions are actually my favorite part of this dish so don’t skimp here! They are also act as a layer between the fish and the bottom of the pan.
Lemon – Fresh only. This recipe calls for 1 lemon juiced and another lemon sliced thin.
Capers – Pick smaller or nonpareils, these are smaller, about the side of a peppercorn and have a great punch of flavor. While I have never personally tried them I have been told that salt brined vs. wet brined are superior, but any works for this dish. The caper berries that are pictured are absolutely optional.
Heavy Bottom Braiser – My favorite pan to cook in is my Le Creuset braiser, however if you don’t have a similar enamel cast iron braiser this can also be made in a Dutch oven.
Parchment paper –Parchment paper, not wax paper. Wax paper can burn on contact with high heat. The parchment paper provides a layer of protection for the fish from the pan. I highly advise against skipping this step.
HOW TO MAKE STEAMED SALMON
Cut + Season the Fish – Most likely your fillets are already precut, but in the event that they aren’t cut your large piece of salmon into 6-7oz fillets. Place the fish, sliced garlic cloves, and thinly sliced onions in a large bowl. Coat with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Toss to coat.
Assemble the Pot- Line a heavy bottom braiser or Dutch oven with parchment paper. Add the onions and garlic followed by the salmon fillets on top. Next, pour in the white wine, chicken broth, lemon juice, capers, and top with lemon slices.
Cook until Flakey– Cover and cook the fish, fully covered. Depending on the thickness of the fillets this might take between for 18-25 minutes over medium to low heat. Check at the 15-minute point, and assess from there. The tops of the fish should be completely cooked and the fish should be flakey, and cooked through. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or your favorite vegetable and enjoy!
I am not the biggest fan of reheating fish, but this dish actually comes back to life the next day. Reheat in the microwave in minute intervals.
Love this flavor combo? Check out the below recipes!