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Mar 18, 2022

Steamed Salmon with Fennel

Steamed salmon served on a bed of fennel cooked with shallots, fennel seeds, and vegetable stock and then topped with an amazing buttery and lemony sauce also made with fennel.  

Steamed Salmon with Fennel and sauce on a plate.

If you've never tried steaming fish, this steamed salmon with fennel recipe will convince you that this method is pretty foolproof. 

Plus, steaming fish typically ensures that you won't end up with dry fish, even if you err on the timing. It's also easy because you don't have to flip the fish over because the steam envelops the filets on all sides, cooking it evenly. 

You can choose any steaming contraption you have on hand, including a vegetable steamer basket, a double-boiler type steamer insert, or, in my case, a bamboo steamer set in a wok. I also use it for steamed bao buns and other Chinese-style buns

Plus, you can stack up up to three layers of the bamboo steamer depending upon how may servings you are preparing. 

Steamed Salmon with Fennel in a wok.

This steamed salmon with fennel is so delicious. The sauce, with the pureed veggies, reduced stock, butter, and lemon will pretty much knock your socks off. Plus, it's so easy to prepare! 

I used the mini blender that I used for my Back2School Smoothie to prepare the sauce, but a full sized blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender will work too. 

All I can say is, even if the sauce isn't all that "pretty," it's amazing. I could practically drink it. 

Steamed Salmon with Fennel cut in half on a plate.

Steamed Salmon with Fennel Shopping List

Salmon Filets - you will need four 6 to 8-ounce filets. They can be either skin on or skinless. 

Large Fennel Bulb - Trim the off the tops and remove the outer layer. 

Vegetable Stock - You can make homemade. I used Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base, which is a mixture of celery, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. If you use it, you can skip the added salt in the recipe. 

Pantry and Fridge Ingredients - Unsalted butter, Fennel Seeds, and Lemon Juice. 

Steamed Salmon with Fennel with gravy on a plate.

The fennel in this recipe is used in three ways. First, it is used to create a bed for the salmon in the steamer. 

Take the trimmed fennel and cut several thin slices off of the bottom of the bulb and line the bottom of your steamer basket. Don't worry if you have gaps or the slices fall apart. 

Fennel lined steamer basket.

This is a great way to use the thick bottom parts of the fennel bulb. 

Once you've lined the bottom of the steamer, salt and pepper the salmon and place it on top of the fennel slices. 

I left the skin on the salmon filets but you can remove it if you prefer. 

Fennel lined steamer basket with salmon on top.

Cut the rest of the fennel into a dice and simmer it in vegetable stock with sliced shallots, fennel seeds, and garlic until the fennel is tender. 

Next, drain the broth from the vegetables and reduce the broth to about a half cup. 

Once you have the concentrated broth, blend it with half of the cooked fennel, butter, and lemon juice. The resulting sauce is sooooo amazing. 

Serve the salmon on a bed of the fennel with the sauce on top. I garnished it with some parsley to add a bit of green for looks. 

This month, the Fish Friday Foodies are sharing recipes for steamed fish. Be sure to check out everyone's recipes! 

Steamed Fish Recipes: 

Steamed Salmon with Fennel with sauce.

Steamed Salmon with Fennel

Steamed Salmon with Fennel
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
Steamed salmon served on a bed of fennel cooked with shallots, fennel seeds, and vegetable stock and then topped with an amazing buttery and lemony sauce also made with fennel.


  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt to taste if needed
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon filets
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish


  1. Wash the fennel bulb and cut the top off and discard. Cut several thin sliced off of the bottom of the bulb, enough for supporting the salmon filets while steaming.
  2. Remove the thick outer layer of the fennel and cut the rest into a half-inch dice.
  3. In 3-quart saucepan, combine the diced fennel, fennel seeds, shallots, minced garlic, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the broth into a bowl and set the vegetables aside. Pour the broth back into the pan and reduce to 1/2 cup over high heat.
  5. Line your steamer basket(s) with the fennel slices and place the salmon filets on top. Salt and pepper the filets.
  6. Bring about 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a steamer pan. Add the steamer basket with the salmon, cover, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until done.
  7. While the salmon steams, make the sauce. In a blender, add half of the cooked fennel mixture and the reduced sauce and blend. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and blend. Finish by adding the lemon juice and salt if needed.
  8. Serve the salmon on a bed of the vegetables topped with the sauce and chopped flat-leaf parsley. Give the sauce an extra whirl in the blender right before topping the fish.

Nutrition Facts



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fish, salmon
main dish
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This recipe was adapted from Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen. He used to own a wonderful restaurant we frequented in Las Vegas, RM Seafood, which has since closed, sadly. This cookbook is very comprehensive. The recipes are pretty foolproof. 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Mmmm! I keep saying I need to make more salmon, so this looks like a great recipe to get me started on that path!

  2. This looks delightful, especially the fennel-based sauce!!!! Love Salmon, I do!

  3. The Teen has decided that fennel is her new favorite vegetable so I will have to make this delicious sounding meal for her. Thanks for hosting Karen.

    1. That's so cool. I recently served a salad with fennel and everyone loved it. It's so unappreciated.

  4. Your salmon looks divine with that sauce, Karen! Fennel really is a neglected vegetable. I love it!


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