No Steaming Rack? Use Asparagus Instead

Use your veggies as a steaming rack for a faster dinner with less cleanup.

Published Feb. 16, 2022.

Slathered in a deliciously umami miso marinade and cooked just until buttery soft, steamed salmon is one of my favorite foods. But hand-scrubbing the tiny holes of my steamer basket is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks.

That’s why I was so excited to discover that long-gone are the days of hand-scrubbing excess oil and fat out of the tiny holes of my steamer basket, because I could use the food I was cooking with to steam my salmon: no extra hardware required.

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This little gem, embedded in ATK’s Five Ingredient Dinners cookbook, is a method used in the recipe for Salmon with Asparagus and Chive Butter Sauce, in which the asparagus is laid in a single layer within a 12-inch skillet. The skillet is then filled with a shallow pool of water and brought to the boil.

Then, to steam your salmon and cook your asparagus at the same time, you simply lay your fish over the asparagus, which acts like a steaming rack, elevating the salmon from the water and allowing it to cook in the steam rising from the gaps between the stalks.

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It then takes less than ten minutes for the asparagus to soften and the salmon to cook through, resulting in a delicious one-pan meal, free of steamer-scrubbing.

This method reflects what ATK has labeled the “Tetris” method for cooking sheet pan pork tenderloin, which calls for the pork to be rested on top of a bed of green beans and then transferred to the oven, allowing the beans to steam while the tenderloin roasts and releases its delicious drippings into the veggies.

So the next time you’re steaming your salmon and throwing in a few veggies, you can reduce the time spent over the stove and the sink with this simple method.

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