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Thea Dianne’s salmon keftethes

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Thea Dianne’s salmon keftethes by Jonathan Barthelmess.

By Jonathan Barthelmess
  • Serves 6
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Thea Dianne’s salmon keftethes
Jonathan Barthelmess grew up in a family of cooks and restaurateurs. He was first recognised at Coast and Manly Pavilion for his Italian-inspired cooking, but has since returned to his roots, opening Greek restaurant The Apollo. At home he sometimes cooks this seafood version of the classic Greek meatballs, keftethes, which he learnt from his aunt Dianne. The easiest way to get the cooking time right is to cook a test one first; the trick is to have the oil hot enough to seal the patties and give them a good crust, but not so hot that the outside burns before the inside cooks. These make great finger food for a cocktail party.


  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for pan-frying
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced, juice reserved
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 salmon fillet (500gm), skin off, pin-boned and finely diced
  • Bunch at-leaf parsley, leaves picked and very finely chopped, plus extra leaves for garnishing
  • Bunch mint, leaves very finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for rolling
  • To taste: freshly ground white pepper
  • For serving: lemon cheeks


  • 1
    Heat a frying pan over low heat and add the oil. When hot, add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes, until it starts to caramelise. Remove from heat and stir through the cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside to cool.
  • 2
    Combine the tomato juice with ½ cup (125 ml) of water and mix in the tomato paste until smooth. Combine this with the onion, diced tomato, salmon, parsley, mint and flour. Beat well using a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes pasty and sticks together. Add salt flakes and white pepper to taste.
  • 3
    Form 4cm balls from the mixture, flatten into patties and coat in the extra flour.
  • 4
    Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the oil for pan-frying. When hot, cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes each side, until just cooked through.
  • 5
    Serve garnished with extra parsley leaves, with lemon cheeks.


Note This recipe was published in the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook ($49.99, hbk, Penguin Lantern) by Roberta Muir and has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.