As far back as we have records, Hawaiians have been combining fresh fish with a bit of salt, tomato and onion, massaging (lomi lomi) them together to bring out the flavors. When the first whaler ships brought salted salmon from the Pacific Northwest in the 1830s, it was adopted as a stand-in for local fish. Today, salmon is the most popular choice for this technique and has become a staple at luaus.
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced, most seeds/juice discarded
2 maui onions, finely chopped (substitute any sweet onion like Vidalia)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
→ Add a 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or minced Hawaiian red pepper for extra kick.
→ Substitute aku for the salmon. Add 1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt.
→ Substitute ʻŌʻio for the salmon. Add 1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt, 2 tablespoons ogo and skip the tomato.
→ ʻOnokinegrindz treats the Maui onion as an optional ingredient, and mixes the ice right into the dish.
Salted salmon tends to be too salty, so you'll want to soak the piece in water for 3 to 6 hours, changing the water hourly. The exact time varies depending on your cut of salmon, so use your judgement. When the salmon reaches a taste you like, drain it thoroughly, remove the skin (if any) and dice.
In a medium bowl, combine diced salmon, Maui onion and tomato. With your fingers, gently lomi lomi everything together to combine. Lightly toss in the green onions right before serving.
To serve: Lomi lomi salmon is best really cold. Place ice inside a larger bowl, then nestle the serving bowl down inside. Although you can eat lomi lomi salmon on its own, it tastes even better if you serve it alongside poi. The saltiness of the lomi lomi salmon is the perfect complement to the sweet/sour smoothness of poi.