Love sushi and sashimi? Then you definitely want to check this Hawaiian “Lomi Lomi” Salmon out!
We found Lomi Lomi on nearly every “Hawaiian” menu we saw on Oahu, and apparently it is a standard on touristy “luau” menus as well. This made me curious, because fresh salmon is not found anywhere near Hawaii.
Upon investigation (read: Google) I learned that salmon quickly became an island favorite back in the 1880s, when mainland sailors began bringing it in with their provisions from the Pacific Northwest. Naturally, the salmon the sailors brought with them was preserved in salt, and even today, Hawaii remains one of the few places where salted salmon is available for sale.
The method of preparation, lomi, takes its name from the Hawaiian word meaning to knead or massage – “as the claws of a contented cat” – wherein the salmon and other ingredients are massaged with the hands until everything is broken up and thoroughly mixed.
Like many dishes around the globe, it seems everyone has their own recipe for Lomi Lomi. While in Hawaii, I talked to a number of locals about the proper way to make it, and got a different answer from each one, ranging from “You have to use fresh fish and a handful of fresh chopped chilis,” to “My grandma always uses canned salmon.” I guess the lesson here is, take the recipe and make it your own. (I gave this recipe a decidedly PNW spin with some of our own beautiful, wild-caught Sockeye salmon.) However you choose to make it though, enjoy!
- ½ lb. salmon (I used Pacific Wild-caught Sockeye!)
- Kosher salt*
- Dash of cayenne* (Optional: See Note)
- 3-4 meduim tomatoes, chopped
- ½ medium sweet onion, chopped
- 2-3 green onions, chopped
- Wash off salmon. Generously salt salmon on both sides and rub in. Wrap tightly in plastic and allow to cure 8 hours (or overnight) in the refrigerator.
- Remove from fridge and soak in ice water for one hour, changing water after 30 minutes.
- Using a sharp, wet knife, chop salmon into small pieces. (About ¼ inch)
- Mix all ingredients together, massaging the ingredients together by hand to mix thoroughly. Chill in the fridge. Serve cold.
Note: In place of Kosher salt and cayenne, I used Hawaiian Chili Pepper Sea Salt.