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Steamed Fish Plaits with Warm Vinaigrette

This dish is sure to be the gem of the table for anyone who likes fish! Fish plaits make a spectacular presentation. In this steamed fish recipe, three varieties of fish with different colored skins, red snapper, lemon sole and mackerel, are cut into strips, plaited, then steamed over a court bouillon. The plaits are served on individual plates with a warm herb-dotted vinaigrette.

Mackerel’s skin is beautifully marked and shimmering snapper contributes to the colorful plait. But you may use other fish as well. Check the bottom of the page for the alternatives.

Steamed Fish Plaits with Warm Vinaigrette

A wonderful steamed fish recipe that will look like a work of art on your table.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Courses, Seafood
Servings 6
Calories 770 kcal


  • 12 oz red snapper fillets with their skin, 375 g
  • 12 oz lemon sole fillets with their skin, 375 g
  • 12 oz mackerel fillets with their skin, 375 g
  • Salt and pepper

For the court bouillon

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 13/4 pints water 1 liter
  • 1 bouquet garni prepared with 5-6 parsley stalks, 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 fl oz Red Wine Vinegar 125 ml
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard 10 ml
  • 2.5 fl oz Olive oil 75 ml
  • 1/4 pint vegetable oil 150 ml
  • 7 sprigs fresh tarragon or thyme tarragon
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley or chervil

Alternative fish

  • any fish with thin, colorful skin such as bass or mullet


  • Peel and quarter the carrot and onion.
  • Combine the water, bouquet garni, peppercorns, 1 tsp (5 ml) salt, the cloves, carrot, and onion in the bottom of the steamer and bring just to a boil. There should be about 2 inches (5 cm) of court bouillon in the steamer.
  • Simmer 20-30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the fish fillets with cold water; pat dry with paper towels.
  • Discard any bones.
  • Trim the fillets so they are roughly the same length.
  • Cut each of the fish fillets lengthwise into strips about 2 cm (3/4 inch) wide, so that there will be 6 strips of each different type of fish to plait. TAKE CARE: Handle the fish gently while cutting so strips do not break.
  • Arrange a strip of snapper, sole, and mackerel next to each other, skin-side up.
  • Plait the strips together, lifting them carefully over each other and gathering the ends together.
  • Continue making plaits with the remaining strips of fish.
  • Plait strips loosely so they do not shrink and break during cooking. Don't worry if the plaits are not even.

Steam the Fish Plaits

  • Using the fish slice, transfer the plaits to the steamer rack.
  • Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  • You may have to steam the fish plaits in 2 batches.
  • Set the rack over the simmering court bouillon; there should still be 2 inches (5 cm) of liquid. TAKE CARE: If too much liquid evaporates from the steamer, add more water.
  • Cover the steamer and steam the fish for 8-10 minutes, until it just flakes easily when tested with a fork. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette.

Make The Vinaigrette; Finish The Dish

  • Peel each shallot and slice horizontally towards the root, leaving the slices attached at the root.
  • Slice vertically, then cut across the shallot to make fine dice.
  • Strip the herb leaves from the stalks, reserving 4 sprigs of each for garnish. Finely chop the leaves.
  • In the saucepan, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and shallots. Add the olive oil, then the vegetable oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly so the vinaigrette emulsifies and thickens slightly.
  • Heat gently until warm, whisking constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.


  • Spoon the vinaigrette onto 6 warmed individual plates.
  • Transfer the plaits to the plates.
  • Garnish with the reserved parsley and tarragon sprigs, and serve at once.
Keyword Fish recipes

You may also listen to the recipe by pressing the play button below:

Other suitable fish: If you need an alternative fish for this recipe you may try any fish with thin, colorful skin such as bass or mullet.

TIP: Season plaits to taste and leave space between plaits in steamer.