Fresh fish is delicious and satisfying to eat, whichever way use choose to cook it, particularly when you have caught it yourself!

In this section we have included traditional and newer preparation methods and recipes.

A great simple recipe to really bring out the flavours of your fresh New Zealand salmon, by adding a tasty, tangy balsamic and citrus drizzle.

Ready in: 2 hours 10 minutes
Serves: 4


1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp olive oil

50 ml lime juice

100 ml lemon juice

100 ml orange juice

freshly ground pepper and sea salt

4 x 200g salmon fillets, skin-on

2 small lemons

2 medium oranges

1 lime

250gms red grape tomatoes

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

100gms mesclun (mixed lettuce)

Preparation method:

  1. Combine dill, garlic, half of the oil and lime, lemon and orange juices in a small bowl.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Place salmon in a shallow non-metallic container and pour over the dill mixture.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Meanwhile, segment lemon, orange and lime over a bowl to collect all of the juices.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes, balsamic and remaining oil.
  7. Place drained salmon fillets, skin-side down, on a heated barbecue or grill pan.
  8. Cook, covered, for 3 minutes each side or until the skin is crisp and salmon is cooked as desired.
  9. Serve salmon on lettuce leaves and topped with citrus and tomato mixture.
  10. Drizzle with extra balsamic and serve with crusty bread, if desired.



250gms trout, gutted and washed

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 juice from lime

1 bird chili, finely chopped

1.5 tbsp fish sauce

3/4 tsp sugar

1 tbsp water

Steamed rice

Chinese broccoli 


  1. Turn the oven grill on.

  2. Wash the trout and pat it dry with a paper towel.

  3. In a small bowl mix together the crushed garlic, lime juice, cilantro, chili and sugar. Stir well. Add 1 Tbsp of water and stir again.

  4. Place the trout in a large piece of foil. Crimp the foil into the shape of a boat and twist the ends closed.

  5. Pour the sauce over the fish and a little inside it.

  6. Crimp the foil tightly so that no steam or liquid can escape.

  7. Place the fish in a large baking dish and then bake for 20-25 minutes.

  8. Remove fish from the oven and carefully open the foil.

  9. Serve fish in foil or filet it and serve it with the sauce poured on top with steamed rice and Chinese broccoli.


The most traditional and popular method of cooking trout is smoking. This is is very simple using the type of hot smokers available at most fishing retailers and hardware stores.

Smoked Trout

For a quick and simple smoked trout:

  • Gut and clean the trout. Cut off the head and tail.
  • Butterfly the fish - cut lengthway from the front down one side of the backbone, but don't cut right through, and fold both halves out with the skin side down.
  • Either soak in a salt and brown sugar brine for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge, or if you're in a real hurry, sprinkle salt/sugar over the flesh while you organise the smoker.
  • When you are ready to smoke, rinse off most of the salt and sugar, pat dry with a paper towel, sprinkle with a little more fresh salt and sugar, and place the fish skin down on a rack in the smoker.
  • Cook for 20 minutes.

Smoking Tips:
Make a tinfoil cover for the fish - in many hot smokers, the fumes condense under the lid and drip down onto the fish, causing a very bitter taste where it lands. Your tinfoil 'Umbrella' will prevent this.

When it's ready, carefully lift out of the smoker and take out the bones (backbone and others). If the trout is cooked properly, these bones should come away easily. The only other bones will be a row of small bones on either side, near the front fins.


This Recipe Comes From The Provençal Dish Of A Layered Vegetables Utilising All That Is In Season With The Addition In This Case Of Course Including A Trout Or Salmon.

The ‘Tian’ is actually the Provençal name for earthenware baking dish in which the dish is cooked. Use any Gratin or baking dish. I enjoy the opportunity of foraging in the back of the kitchen cupboards for forgotten baking dishes seldom used. The earthenware dishes previously produced from Temuka Pottery are a favourite of mine for this style of dish. A small roasting dish could be used especially if the dish is finished on a barbecue.


1 trout or salmon (1kg is a good size) filleted and pin-boned, skin on.

2 red onions (360g)

4 courgettes (600g)

1 medium sized eggplant (350g)

6 ripe tomatoes (1kg)

4 cloves of garlic (15g)

Virgin olive oil

Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (a sprinkle of dried mixed herbs is fine)

Salt and pepper grinder to season


  1. Prepare the vegetables, keeping them in separate containers. Slice the onions, chop the garlic. Slice the eggplant, tomatoes and courgettes into thin slices; season the courgettes and eggplant with salt and ground pepper. Fry the onions and garlic in a little olive until they are softened.

  2. Spoon the onions into your chosen baking dish then lay the tomatoes, eggplant and courgettes in overlapping slices on top. Feel free to choose any pattern you favour. Sprinkle over a generous portion of olive oil and bake in oven set at 200˚C for around 40-45 minutes, the juices should be evaporated and the dish should visually be well cooked.

  3. The trout or salmon fillets in the meantime have been seasoned both sides with a good grind of salt and kept covered skin side up. (Salting the skin will make the skin crisp when grilled.)

  4. Turn your oven onto grill; sprinkle the thyme onto the tian then place on the fillets. Cook around 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp. Serve with a fresh salad and a slice of lemon.

  5. The Tian of vegetables could be made in advance and reheated.

  6. The dish could be made using a hooded barbecue.
Chef: Tony Smith, Riversmiths NZ 
Photographer: Tony Smith


Escabèche is a style of cooking popular as a national style of dish in pretty most all countries that Spain colonised. There are many versions but all share the style of producing a dish that typically uses vinegar, aromatics, usually Spanish paprika and olive oil.

The taste of fresh herbs along with this preparation is perfect for our New Zealand summer.


500g fresh Trout or Salmon cut into half thumb size pieces

A teaspoon salt

The Escabèche broth:

2 teaspoons paprika (the Spanish sweet Pimenton is best)

½ a small red onion finely diced

1 carrot peeled and sliced as thinly as possible

50ml virgin olive oil

50ml white wine or cider vinegar

50ml water

Juice of two lemons

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 garlic crushed cloves 

A few sprigs fresh thyme

2 fresh bay leaves

1 tsp liquid honey

A grind of black pepper


  1. To serve, fresh bread, a cupful of loose fresh garden herbs along with some garnishes such as cucumber or avocado. Mayonnaise can be used as a spread on your bread.

  2. Cut the trout into ½ thumb sized pieces, sprinkle over salt, cover with kitchen paper and leave for 15 minutes. Pat dry.

  3. Bring to boil the broth ingredients, simmer for 5 minutes, pour over the salmon pieces, cover to let salmon cook somewhat, not more than a minute or two, allow to cool a little. At this stage you can pour off the liquids and boil down to reduce until you have a thicker sauce, pour back over the fish, cover and chill. 

  4. Serve with fresh or toasted bread, plenty of fresh herbs and garnish of your choosing.
Chef: Tony Smith, Riversmiths NZ 
Photographer: Tony Smith



Meunière; in the manner of a millers wife, lightly dusted with flour.

The trout and three ingredients plus seasoning, it doesn’t get much easier and yet there is a technique to this recipe that makes it a dish that good cooks still love to put together well.

This is a method of cooking that suits our holiday season perfectly and with a lemon and a few herbs taken up river one that can make a great meal cooked in a river hut. This method can be used with many other fish species, especially those we catch in our rivers and around river estuaries. 


4 nice fresh trout fillets

½ cup of flour mixed with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp white pepper

20mls olive oil

60g butter (cut into 20g and 40g portions)

¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

 Squeezed juice of one lemon (50ml)

A grind of pepper

A little salt


  1. Pre heat your oven to 110˚c to heat plates and to keep your cooked trout warm.

  2. Heat a frying pan. Put the oil and 20g of the butter into the pan and continue to heat until the butter starts to ‘sizzle’.

  3. Pass the trout fillets through the seasoned flour and lay into the pan, rounded sides of the fillets face down. Fry gently for a couple of minutes then using a spatula turn over and cook a couple of minutes on the other, take out of the pan and keep warm on an oven tray. You may need to cook two fillets at a time depending on the size of your pan. 

  4. Timing is the key to a good meunière sauce.

  5. When the fillets are cooked, place them onto a serving dish or four serving plates.

  6. Tip off any excess oil from the pan and place the pan back on to the heat.

  7. Add the remaining butter and cook, swirling the pan, until the butter foams then begins to turn to a nut brown colour. Lift the pan off the heat, add the parsley and then the lemon juice, swirling the pan to mix the juices into a sauce that is poured or spooned immediately over the trout fillets.

  8. Sprinkle over a few salt flakes and a grind of pepper.

  9. Serve with new potatoes and a simply cooked green vegetable or a salad or just some bread and butter.
Chef: Tony Smith, Riversmiths NZ 
Photographer: Tony Smith



A fresh dish that will be enjoyed by all. Although the recipe provided covers the traditional flavours associated with the use of taco bread wraps, you can add your own version of what you put in them.

The amount of ingredients below are a guide only. A nice way to serve these is self help style; that is line up the prepared fillings or toppings and let everyone put together their own.

From a small trout you will make around 10-12 tacos


The pin boned fillets from a small trout (approx 500g)

A packet of smaller tortilla wraps

1 fresh lime

2 radishes (sliced and cut into thin strips)

2 tomatoes (seeds removed and diced)

½ a small red onion (finely diced)

1 avocado

2 cups sliced lettuce

2 jalapeño pepper (optional) (finely dice)

A little olive oil

60mls mayonnaise (good quality shop bought is fine)

A handful of fresh coriander (chopped)

Salt and black pepper to season


  1. Assemble all of the ingredients into small containers so that the tacos can be quickly assembled.

  2. Cut the trout into cigar sized pieces.

  3. Heat your barbecue. Season and cook the fillets on the flat plate of the barbecue. They will only take a minute or two to cook, keep warm.

  4. Then with a pair of tongs place the tortillas onto the open barbecue bars, turn them over, take care not to overcook as you don’t want them to be crusty.

  5. Make up the tortilla and serve on a large rustic dish, or invite all to make their own.

  6. Probably the best order of ingredients is:
    A little lettuce, slices of avocado, optional jalapeños, the trout, tomatoes, mayonnaise, radish and coriander but remember anything goes here, mint, cucumber, gherkins, rocket, it’s about freshness, taste and texture. Enjoy.
Chef: Tony Smith, Riversmiths NZ 
Photographer: Tony Smith