Do not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
A vestige of the whaling industry, lomi salmon is a staple at lūʻau and grocery stores alike. While it’s common to find salt (salted) salmon and lomi salmon in grocery stores in Hawai‘i, I have learned that is not the case on the mainland and the rest of the world. That makes this recipe a two-day affair, as the salmon takes a day to cure in the salt. Better ingredients make for a better lomi salmon, so look for fresh salmon, ripe tomatoes, and sweet onions.
½ pound salmon fillet, skinned and boned
¼ cup Hawaiian salt (‘alaea)
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 small Maui onions, peeled and chopped
6 green onions, green parts only, chopped
¼ teaspoon gochugaru
Place the salmon in a nonreactive rimmed dish or pan large enough for the fillet to lie flat and evenly coat both sides with the salt. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with a handful of ice and water.
Rinse the salt from the fish and soak the fish in the ice-water bath for 1 hour. Slice the salmon into ¼- to ½-inch cubes and place them into a nonreactive bowl. Add the tomatoes, Maui onions, green onions, and gochugaru and gently toss with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving.