Monday, May 31, 2010

Lomi Salmon


OK...you got me, Lomi Salmon did not come from my Grandma's Recipe Box.  In fact, I don't even have an actual recipe for Lomi Salmon among my "personal" recipes.  I did find the attached recipe in one of my Hawaiian recipe books, and I suspect that the Lomi Salmon we ate this weekend was made much like this, the secret ingredient to the best Lomi Salmon is the "massage or lomi".  See, it has to be made with loving hands for one's loved ones.  My "fix" for Lomi salmon happened precisely because of one's love for their son, brother,  nephew, grandson, cousin, uncle, aunty and friend forever.  It was served at a high school graduation party.  I am sure these are happening all over the country right now, but not like this one.  This one was held in Texas, but for about 4 hours, I felt like I was in Hawaii.  Everything about this graduation party was Hawaiian.  I felt it the minute we came through the gate to the back yard  (or as I like to think about it, the minute we crossed the state line).  The smell of Teriyaki Chicken, Ribs and Hamburgers on the grill woke my first sense.  Then my eyes met all the friendly faces from Hawaii, even if I had never met any of these people before, I felt like I was greeting aunties and uncles who had been my friends for years.  As we made our way to the kitchen (to drop of my haole choc chip cookies), we were met by the beautiful and proud hostess, the mother of the graduate.  She had a Haku Lei, a muumuu and was busy finishing up the poki, tako, mac salad, kalua pig and lomi salmon.  Back outside, cold beer in hand, tea leaf lei around our necks, the Hawaiian music playing subtly in the background, I swore for a minute I heard the ocean (of course it was a "splash" coming for the swimming pool) and it didn't seem Texas hot...it was Hawaiian cool.  Then I began to meet the family of the graduate...Grandma and Grandpa had flown from Hawaii, Aunty and Uncle too, and more Aunties and Uncles, all recently arriving from the islands.  And then there were the Hawaiian Aunties and Uncles from down the street.  We had only been there 10 minutes and we had earned our respectful title as aunty and uncle too.  Eventually the Uncle I had met years ago and who was a good friend of a good friend made it and the party was on!  As the night progressed more Hawaiians made their way to the party, more food was served and the cold beers kept coming.  We "talked story" (in pigeon English) for hours.  We talked UH Football, Baseball and the fact that the Wahines had won a big game earlier in the day on their way to their Women's Softball World Series.  We heard old stories (some of them I have heard a few times)  and new stories and we talked about what it was like to be from Hawaii living in Texas.  I learned how this community in Texas had managed to bring the spirit of the Islands to Texas.  Now granted, the beauty of the islands has many facets, but the real beauty has and always will be the people (and the food) and with friends and family gathering on a Saturday evening celebrating a significant milestone anything is possible. It was an honor to be included and congrats to the graduate....he is a lucky young man!   So here's that Lomi Salmon recipe - It was "ono".
Lomi Salmon
1 pound salted salmon                     3 stalks green onions, chopped
3 large tomatoes, diced                   3 cubes ice, cracked
1 onion, chopped
Soak salted salmon in cold water for on hour.  If salmon is very salty repeat process.  Remove skin and bones and shred salmon with fingers.  Place in a bowl and add tomatoes and onions.  Chill; add crushed ice just before serving.
NOTE: Salted salmon was introduced to Hawaiians by Westerners.  Lomi salmon is now known as a "traditional" Hawaiian food, which is always served at a lu'au.
This recipe comes from the "Best of the Best from Hawaii Cookbook".

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