This healthy Mediterranean-style steamed salmon with garlic, lemon and fresh herbs is the perfect quick dinner (25 minutes start-to-finish!) You get spectacular results--perfectly cooked salmon that is tender, moist, and flavor-packed--with very little effort. Be sure to check out the step-by-step tutorial, and grab my tips and suggested sides and salads!

Mediterranean Steamed Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, and Fresh Herbs

I'm a big fan of salmon. It's healthy. Quick. And frankly, it's the perfect dinner when you want to look fancy but don't want to work too hard for it.

I've done salmon all sorts of ways: pan-seared or blackened; grilled and jazzed up with a little mango salsa; baked in foil packets with veggies...etc.

A few days ago, I was learning about steamed fish in the Professional Chef. And on the very same day, I came across a Turkish-style steamed salmon recipe as I thumbed through the book Istanbul and Beyond. I took inspiration from these two sources to create this tasty steamed salmon with a Mediterranean twist!

Steamed salmon with a side of fresh crusty bread

Why this Steamed Salmon Recipe Works?

Steaming is a great cooking method that really preserves food's natural flavor especially delicate foods like fish and seafood. As the little bit of cooking liquid turns to steam, it quickly and gently cooks the salmon, producing delicious, tender fish.

For this Mediterranean-style steamed salmon recipe, we rely on a delicious broth with a combination of white wine, extra virgin olive oil and citrus in the form of lemon slices. More flavor comes from a trio of spices (cumin, coriander, and Aleppo pepper); a bed of onions; minced garlic; and fresh parsley.

To create the perfect environment for steaming, we use parchment paper to wrap the salmon and the rest of the ingredients (see photo below.) I like to cook this salmon in a heavy pot of sorts, like a ceramic braiser, with a lid. The lid is so important again to help steam the fish quickly and properly. This steamed fish should cook in 15 minutes or so.

Steamed salmon ingredients. Salmon fillets, garlic, onions, fresh herbs and lemon

Step-By-Step for How to Make Steamed Salmon Recipe:

- First thing you do is prepare a large piece of parchment or wax paper and place it right in the middle of your pan or braiser. (There should be a lot of slack on either side of the pot because you need to be able to fold the parchment over the fish.)

- Now that you have the parchment down, spread sliced onions at the bottom (I add a little of the green onions as well) to make a nice bed for the fish. Arrange the salmon on top and season well with kosher salt and pepper. Rub or coat salmon with the spices. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil directly over salmon.

In this step, uncooked salmon is laid on top of a bed of onions and seasons

- Now jazz things up! Add the minced garlic, fresh parsley and remaining green onions (by the way, we're using both the whites and greens of the onions, of course. So much more flavor!)

Uncooked salmon now topped with garlic, fresh parsley and green onions

-Arrange lemon slices on top. Add generous drizzle of oh-so-good extra virgin olive oil.  Pour about ½ cup white wine (if you don't want to use white wine, you can do broth or even water.)

Lemon slices arranged over salmon and fresh herbs. White wine poured over.

- Fold the parchment over the salmon, and make sure to bring the sides together and seal them. You want to create the perfect pouch for this salmon to steam. Cover with the lid. Cook on medium-high for 5 minutes, then lower to medium heat and cook another 8 minutes or so, covered. Remove from heat and let rest another 5 minutes

IMPORTANT TIP: Do NOT remove the cover while salmon is cooking.

Parchment paper is folded to create a pouch for steamed salmon

What to Serve with this beautiful Steamed Salmon?

I like to serve this salmon right out of the cooking pot--so much easier and prettier than transferring it to another dish. A loaf of crusty bread is the perfect thing to sop up the tasty little bit of broth.

This Mediterranean-style steamed salmon is perfect on top of a bed of Greek lemon rice, Lebanese rice, or your favorite grain. You can also add a side of this beautiful asparagus, or a hearty salad like Balela or fattoush!

Steamed salmon with crusty bread and olives on the side

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Mediterranean Steamed Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, and Fresh Herbs

Mediterranean-Style Steamed Salmon with Lemon and Fresh Herbs


Description

This Mediterranean-style steamed salmon with garlic, lemon and fresh herbs is the perfect quick dinner! You get spectacular results--perfectly cooked salmon that is tender, moist, and flavor-packed--with very little effort. Be sure to check out the step-by-step tutorial above, and grab my tips and suggested sides and salads!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 green onions (spring onions), trimmed and sliced lengthwise, divided
  • 1 lb skin-on salmon fillet (such as wild Alaskan), cut into 4 portions
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp/ 1.67 g ground coriander
  • 1 tsp/2.6 g ground cumin
  • ½ tsp/ 1.33 g Aleppo pepper
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO)
  • A large handful fresh parsley (about 28 g)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup white wine (or you can use water or low-sodium broth, if you prefer)

Instructions

  1. Cut a large piece of wax paper or parchment (about 2 feet long) and place it right in the center of a 10-inch deep pan or braiser (like this one)
  2. Place the sliced yellow onions and some of the green onions the onions on the bottom of your braiser that's been lined with parchment. Arrange salmon, skin-side down, on top. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the coriander, cumin, and Aleppo pepper. Coat top of salmon with the spice mixture. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Add garlic, parsley and the remaining green onions on top of the salmon (arrange so that everything is spread evenly over the salmon portions.) Arrange lemon slices on top.
  5. Add another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then pour the white wine.
  6. Now, fold the parchment paper over to cover salmon and secure the edges. Cover the braiser with its lid as well.
  7. Place over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes (do NOT uncover.) Lower heat to medium and cook for another  8 minutes or so, covered still.
  8. Remove from heat and let rest undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove lid and serve directly from pan/braiser.

Notes

  • Cook's tip: You need a pan or braiser with a lid to make this steamed salmon. The parchment paper is also necessary, it traps the steam in and allows the salmon to gently cook until nice and tender. Resist the temptation to uncover or open up the parchment at all.
  • What to Serve Along? This salmon is perfect on top of a bed of Greek lemon rice , Lebanese rice, or your favorite grain. Add a side of this beautiful asparagus, or a hearty salad like Balela or fattoush!
  • Visit The Mediterranean Dish online store for all-natural and organic spices and our collection of Greek extra virgin olive oils (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives.)
  • Recipe adapted from Istanbul and Beyond
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Fish and Seafood
  • Method: Steamed
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keywords: Steamed Salmon, Steamed Fish, How to Steam Fish

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. I made this last night and it turned out very nicely. Two thoughts: It would be easier to get the salmon pieces seasoned evenly before they go on top of the vegetables - the parchment paper tends to get in the way and makes the process unnecessarily fiddly. I have regular baking parchment, and used a 2ft length of it. There was no way of sealing the edges to keep in the steam, so I'm probably going to try and cook this is the pot without the paper next time. I might use a piece of parchment between the pot and the lid, that would help with sealing in the steam.

  2. Very juicy with perfect cooking method
    What I like more is that it doesn't stink up my kitchen

  3. Hi Suzy,
    Thank you for the recipe. My husband doesn’t like salmon, however he enjoys it this way. I made the recipe several times now and every time came perfect. Today, I substituted green onions to leeks. And LOL, I forgot to add the liquid. Remembered when was almost time to turn off the stove and let it rest. Well, surprise it makes its own juice. Turns out onion has plenty of water and so does the salmon and the leeks. Did not burned and came out at least as good as the previous times. Love your recipes.

  4. Delicious! Can’t believe the hubby loved it too
    I was too lazy to go to the store to get fresh parsley so I used the dried stuff .
    I need to get going on an herb garden !!

    1. Hi, Frank. I have never tried that substitution with this recipe, so hard to tell. If you want to use something besides wine, I would recommend water or low-sodium broth here.

  5. Thanks for this recipe. I cooked it tonight for our dinner and my family loved it (even my mother-in-law gave the thumbs up). I modified it slightly by adding za’atar and sumac and pepper flakes sine I can’t find Aleppo powder (I live in the Philippines). I also added thinly sliced carrots and ginger. This recipe is a keeper!

  6. Is the parchment paper going on a steamer insert inside the pot? I’m confused how this is steamed if the only liquid is the white wine within the parchment paper. Thanks.

  7. I am about to give this a try, but am confused about the cooking process. I understand the parchment paper process, but cooking it on the stove in the pot while the fish is wrapped in the parchment makes me wonder about the parchment burning and sticking to the pot.
    I know this would work in the oven, but it also works without damaging the pot when you cook on the stove??
    Thanks for your kind response.

    1. Hi Mary, we've made this recipe a number of times this way. The liquid will steam the fish, that is really how it works. If you're afraid to use parchment this way or not sure exactly how, you can try it without the parchment, I suppose. I can't say for sure how it would turn out, however.

      1. I can't see the point of the parchment paper. Please explain what benefit it has over a good fitting lid. I feel like I could essentially do this dish and poach the fish with little liquids and it would be essentially the same. All you need is a good skillet with a good sealing lid.
        I appreciate the seasoning suggestions. I was looking for something like this that validated my idea, but was going to do Thai seasonings. Thanks

      2. Hi, Glyn. The problem with a lid is that the water tends to condense at the top and then drip or run down the sides, making it so there's uneven heat/moisture. Using parchment helps distribute the steam/vapors nicely and cooks the fish more evenly.