This Is The Proper Way To Micro-Steam Fish

Steaming is a delicate method of cooking that can work wonders on delicate proteins like fish. Often, cooks turn to the oven as the appliance of choice for steamed fish. But, that approach usually involves the somewhat fussy "en papillote" technique where the fish is encased in a parchment paper packet. Even if you are up for an arts and craft session in the middle of your dinner prep, steamed fish in the oven can take 15 minutes to cook all the way through (per Food Network), plus you can't exactly check for doneness while the fish is all wrapped up in parchment. What if there were a better, quicker option, with less room for error? Well, there is, and all it requires is a microwave.

We can feel your hesitancy. Maybe the microwave has done you wrong in the past by causing a sauce explosion or sogging out your leftovers. While it's true there are some foods you should never put in the microwave, fresh fish is not one of them. Sure, "microwaved fish" sounds dry, bland, and boring, but we're talking about micro-steaming, which produces the exact opposite result. Micro-steaming is a simple method of gently steaming fish in the microwave and it takes practically no time at all, according to Delish. Fish naturally contain a lot of water, so this method is pretty much foolproof, not to mention healthy. And, it's easier than you might think. Here's the trick to properly micro-steaming fish every time.

Add sauces and seasonings to your fish before micro-steaming

Before we fire up that start button on your microwave, let's discuss the nearly endless number of options you have when it comes to micro-steamed fish. According to Delish, any variety of fish fillets work with this method and, once they're arranged in a microwave-safe dish, you can top them with any combination of seasonings you desire. Think salmon with soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, grated ginger, and sesame seeds. Or, snapper with coconut milk, fish sauce, lemongrass, garlic, Thai basil, cilantro, and chilis. A simple combo of halibut with citrus juice and zest, green onion, salt, pepper, and garlic works, too.

For a more complete dish, Epicurious says you can even layer salt and peppered fish fillets over quick-cooking vegetables. Perhaps you could try asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, or green beans along with garlic, olive oil, and a splash of wine. The bottom line is, don't hold back on flavor and there's no need to be too precise – micro-steaming is a pretty forgiving method. So, just layer your choice of ingredients in with the fish (it's ok if the fillets overlap a bit in the dish) and you're ready to let the microwave work its magic.

Micro-steam your fish for five minutes or less and let it rest

Now that we've covered dressing and seasoning your fish, and nestling it in with some healthy veggies if you like, it's time to micro-steam. Just place a glass lid on your dish or simply cover it with plastic wrap, pop it in the microwave, and let it cook. Delish says four to five minutes is the perfect cooking time for one-inch-thick fillets. But if your fish is thinner, you might want to start checking at the two and a half minute mark. If the fish does not yet look opaque, continue microwaving it and check the fish every 20 seconds or so for doneness, per Epicurious.

Once the fish appears to be opaque all over, let it sit for a bit with the cover or plastic wrap on. Be sure not to skip this step as the resting period allows for some gentle carry-over cooking the fish needs. Meanwhile, you can toss together a salad, open a bottle of wine, or just take time out to revel in the glorious simplicity of the elegant steamed fish dinner you just prepared in the microwave.