Hawaii is the first place she’s landed that hasn’t had a large theater community, so Jennifer has branched out – she’s auditioned for the circus and for some television shows that film in Hawaii, including Lost, which is one of my all-time favorites – except for the finale (oh, don’t get me started).
Since Hawaii 5-0 is a crime drama, it has to set-up the murder to be investigated – that’s Jennifer’s part. She plays a mom with a pre-teen son who discovers the body of the murder victim. Alright, it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part, but it happens on a submarine!
Jennifer’s mother is one of my best friends, so I knew I had to organize a viewing party to watch her big Hawaii 5-0 debut, but I don’t know anything about Hawaiian food (because I don’t think ordering ham and pineapple on my pizza counts). I’ve never been to Hawaii, so I hit the interwebs to do a little research. Of course, I focused in on some classic luau dishes, and found one that really spoke to me: lomi lomi salmon. (Lomi means massage in Hawaiian, so it’s twice-massaged salmon.)
It’s a salt-cured salmon dish that is served with tomatoes and onions. Think gravlax meets ceviche meets salsa. I’m a sucker for all three, so I thought that this would be perfect. Then, when I found out the Hawaiian word for appetizer, the adolescent in me decided that I had to put my own spin on it and turn this into an hors d’oeuvres, just so I could call it Lomi Lomi Pupu.
Turns out that it’s an incredibly easy dish to make, Curing the salmon takes about 5 minutes to set up, but it has to set for 6 or 8 hours, so you need to plan ahead. Most of the recipes I looked at also called for peeling the tomatoes, which is no big deal if you first dunk them in boiling water for 30 seconds. I also thought the dish was in desperate need of some color, so I swapped out the sweet onions for scallions and used a yellow tomato as well as a red one. Some recipes called for some heat, while some others didn’t – I chose to add a little jalapeño to give it some background flavor.
One other tip – do not fall victim to the desire to season the vegetation before you add the salmon. Even after washing off the excess, the salmon is quite salty. Once you add the tomatoes et al, it balances out – but it certainly does not need any more salt.
To make it finger food, chopping it into smaller chunks turned out to be the best thing (the small-chop made it easier to get the filling in). I hollowed out some cherry tomatoes, used a melon baller to create some cucumber cups, and perched some of the salmon mixture on top of thick-cut pineapple. The pineapple turned out to be the favorite in the test run – the salty Lomi Lomi needs that sweet counterpoint for the best balance. In fact, the next time I make this, I think I’ll add a little pineapple to the mixture.
|Jennifer and her "son" hanging out in her on-set trailer|
Recipe: Lomi Lomi Pupu