Steamed Salmon with Warm Lemon Vinaigrette

In the summer of 2014, I attended Patricia Well’s Cooking in Provence class. What a great experience! When people ask me what I learned, I tell them discovering the technique for steaming fish was my favorite. I practiced an excellent recipe for steamed turbo in the class. However when I returned home, I found the following recipe in Patricia Well’s At Home in Provence cook book and it has been placed on our routine home menu rotation.

Tasty, simple, healthy – what else can we want? I steam some small new potatoes in the skin and place them beside the salmon to acquire some of the vinaigrette flavor. Finish with steamed broccoli, asparagus, or Brussel sprouts (depending on the season) and a green salad. Viola! A wonderful easy, delicious meal.

Steamed Salmon with Warm Lemon Vinaigrette

For all those cooks out there who have a fear of cooking fish – and even those who don’t – I advise steaming. It’s easier and more precise than poaching, and the steam’s gentle, moist heat is ideal for the delicate flesh of fish.

  • 1 cup best-quality green olives
  • 4 tablespoons capers
  • 4 salmon fillets, about ¾ inch thick and weighing about 7 ounces each
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Fresh fennel fronds or fresh dill, snipped with scissors, for garnish
  1. Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the olives and blanch in the boiling water for 2 minutes to rid them of excess salt. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Drain the capers, rinse well, and soak in cold water for 10 minutes to rid them of excess salt. Set aside.
  3. Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer in the bottom of the steamer. Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on the steaming rack. Season very lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Place the rack over simmering water, cover, and steam until the salmon is opaque, 5 to 6 minutes for medium rare, 6 to 8 minutes for medium. To test the salmon, insert the tip of a sharp knife in the thickest part of the fish. The salmon will flake easily once cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the capers. In a small saucepan, combine the oil, lemon juice, capers, and blanched olives, stir to blend, and warm gently over low heat.
  5. To serve, transfer the salmon to 4 warmed individual plates and spoon the sauce on top and around the fish. Sprinkle with the fennel fronds or dill. Serve immediately, with steamed potatoes in their jackets.
Recipe from “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence”