Australian salmon with pimenton and chilli aioli

Australian salmon with pimenton and chilli aioli

A Year of Practiculture
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

There are lots of species of fish that people turn their noses up at, many for reasons unknown. Australian ‘cocky’ salmon is one of those fish species that often gets returned to the water, as it’s not a target species. I’ve loved it since the first time I caught it off a pier in Apollo Bay, Victoria. There was a good-sized school of them and my mate and I were pulling them in for a spell, filling our Eskies with fresh delicious fish. Australian salmon (Arripis trutta) isn’t actually a salmonoid species, it just looks like a salmon and so we call it that. It tastes nothing like a true salmon; it has a taste of its own – which really isn’t much to write home about. It’s definitely not a strong flavour, like bream or flathead, and that’s what I love about it. Its flavour is pretty light, which allows you to add a whole bunch of different culinary elements.

On the mainland in summer, we catch these beauties off the beach with a large surf rod, but when we visit the island state (Tassie) we use a tinnie in a bay and trawl off the back, with outstanding results. It’s a real fighting fish, and when you hook a decent specimen you’re in for a battle. The key to a good-tasting Aussie salmon is to bleed it once you’ve landed it. Cut the throat and let it bleed, and you’ll have a good meal that evening.

We’ll fire up the barbecue, open some chilled beers, tell fishing tales and cook fish for a few hours. It’s one of my most comfortable moments of the summer – ice-cold beer, good company and fresh fish. In the van at the beach there’s a herb garden with ingredients on hand we like to use: coriander, lemon thyme, chilli and dill. We just pick herbs, add spice, cook and sip beer. Really, is there anything more enjoyable on a hot summer’s evening?

If you want to try this recipe and Australian salmon aren’t in your local waters, give it a go with mackerel, bonito or tuna.


Quantity Ingredient
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons smoked pimenton
75g plain flour
4 australian salmon fillets
Chilli and smoked pimentón aioli, to serve
1 lemon, sliced, to serve


  1. Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the garlic for a minute or two.
  2. Mix the pimentón with the flour and coat the fillets in this mixture.
  3. Cook the coated fillets in the garlic olive oil for a few minutes each side.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of chilli aioli and a slice of lemon.
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