If you’ve read my post on Tuna Poke, you know how I feel about Hawaiian food. Here’s another island classic that’s traditionally served at luaus as a side dish, alongside kalua pig. It goes great with roast meats, or even other seafood dishes packing a bunch of flavour with each refreshing bite.
If lomi lomi makes you think of spas, it’s because “lomi” is the Hawaiian word for masseuse and is used in spas to describe a Hawaiian massage. The dish gets it’s name from the way the ingredients are massaged, breaking them up and helping all the flavours meld together. You could of course mix it with a spoon, but it won’t look the same, nor would it be nearly as fun to make:-)
Traditionally the fresh salmon is rubbed with Alaea salt and left overnight to cure, but for the sake of convenience, I’ve cheated and used gravlax from the grocery store. Since you want the sweetest ripest tomatoes and it’s the middle of winter here in NYC, I used cherry tomatoes in the photo above, but nothing beets a sweet, juicy, vine ripened tomato.
Update: It’s worth noting that this is not a traditional lomi as pointed out by Holly in the comments. You’re supposed to use Maui sweet onions and green onions. We don’t get Maui onions here and I like the color from the purple onions so I made that substitution, and chives were what I had on hand so I subbed them in for green onions. As for the citrus, it’s a matter of personal preference, but if you want to go for the real deal, skip the citrus.
1 C ripe tomatoes peeled and cut into 1/4″ dice
1 serrano chili pepper finely minced
1/4 C red onion finely minced
4 oz roughly chopped salted salmon (gravlax will work as well)
Squeeze of lemon or lime
2 Tbs chopped chives
Add everything except the chives in a bowl and work together with your fingers, breaking up the chunks of salmon as you go. There should be enough salt from the salmon, but add more if it needs it.
Add the chopped chives and mix in. Allow it to rest for at least an hour and serve.