Steaming is simple, quick, relatively neat, and usually fat free. It is one of the healthiest cooking methods. Properly steamed meats and vegetables retain their vitamins and nutrients well.
Steaming is gentle. It is the perfect method for cooking delicate vegetables, fish, even pastas like ravioli. If properly timed, steaming brings foods to their peak of flavor, so you need to add less seasoning or sauce. With steamed vegetables or fish, often a squirt of lemon juice is enough to avoid using salt or a condiment. Let us repeat the words “if properly timed.”
Steamers come in many shapes, sizes and materials. The adjustable metal steaming insert in the photo on this page is a popular choice. Pour a layer of water into the bottom of a pot, fill the steaming basket with food, place it in the pot over the water, cover the pot, and turn on the heat to medium. Vegetables should steam in five minutes or less, meats and fish a few minutes longer. Clean up is easy, another benefit.
You can also steam in a microwave oven. This is particularly effective for cut up vegetables. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, make a few slits in the wrap, and microwave on high for three or more minutes. Experiment with timing.