Steamed Fish with Basil

Fish, simply cooked, absorbing the flavours of herbs and fresh vegetables to provide a light and nourishing meal.

This recipe could be called ‘steamed fish’; but that would suggest something very bland, which it is not! Quick and simple to prepare, it is nevertheless very tasty and healthy and is suitable to serve as an elegant dinner party meal.

Select ingredients that are seasonal: vegetables, from the garden if you are fortunate enough to have one, and freshly caught fish.

A cutlet of firm fish is preferable. However, a thick fillet is suitable (with reduced cooking time).

The basil oil is an optional addition when serving this dish. You will not require the quantity you make; use remaining to marinate vegetables to grill or as the basis of a salad dressing.

Diets for which Steamed Fish with Basil is suitable:

Diabetic, Dairy Free, Fodmap, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat and Nut Free.


Preparation: 5 mins | Cook: 20 mins | Serves: 4

3 carrots
2 turnip
2 leek (Fodmap, see notes)*
4 sticks of celery
2 fennel
3 sprigs of parsley
6 sprigs basil**
1 bay leaf
6 peppercorns
2 lemon slices
4 cutlets of fish, eg salmon or halibut
100gm (3 oz) spinach
extra lemon, to serve

Sauce (optional)
1 tbsp chopped basil
3-4 tbsp olive oil


PEEL the root vegetables.
CUT the carrot, leek, turnip and celery into large chunks (bite-size or larger).
CUT fennel in quarters lengthwise.
PLACE the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns in a large saucepan.
ADD water to the level of the vegetables and cover with the lid.
HEAT to boil and lower the temperature to simmer for 5 minutes. (Do not cook to tender because the vegetables will cook more when the fish is added.)
BLEND the basil and a little oil, adding more oil to a pouring consistency. (Make this while the vegetables are cooking.)
PLACE the fish cutlets on the vegetables, cover and simmer for four minutes.
TURN the heat off, add the spinach.
KEEP covered for another four minutes.
PLATE, draining most of the liquid off the vegetables and drizzling the basil oil on top of the vegetables.


– Good with crusty bread.


* For Fodmap diet replace leek with chives.
** Add other herbs eg dill, thyme, chervil

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