Citrus Grilled Fish: Page 163, Another Taste of Aloha

Ahi is always in abundance in Hawaii, so I usually pick up some form of it at the grocery store – fillets, steaks, sashimi, you name it, I’ve bought it.  The Citrus Grilled Fish, on page 163, Another Taste of Aloha, in the Seafood section is one of the best (and fastest) preparations I’ve found for this delicious, rich, meaty fish.

I love grill’n’go recipes, especially when there’s no marinating, because I can open my fridge, open my cookbook, and have dinner on the table in just a few minutes.  Flavored butter is a great accompaniment to grilled meat and fish – it adds pizzazz in moments, and can take on any flavor or ethnic profile.  This recipe is excellent, and the butter is yummy.  It reminds me of a ginger and lemon butter I used to make for salmon that my friends called “ambrosia”.

You’ll notice I used ahi steaks instead of a whole ahi, and it was delicious anyway, but I definitely want to try grilling the whole fish with the citrus inside! I’ll be making this recipe on the fly again soon. Try it tonight!

Mmm, grilled ahi…

Look at that tasty lime butter!

Citrus Grilled Fish


  • 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime peel, grated
  • Dash salt
  • 3 – 4 pounds fresh ahi, aku, or uku
  • Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel
  • 1 or 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: Lime wedges

Combine butter, lime juice, lime peel and salt in a small bowl.  Beat until soft and light.  Chill until ready to serve.  Prepare barbecue.  Clean fish.  Rub fish with oil, inside and out. Season inside with pepper and lemon peel.  Overlap alternating lime and lemon slices in cavity of fish.  Place fish in an oiled fish basket or on a pice of oiled heavy duty foil with several holes, or directly onto the oiled grill.  Cover grill with lid or an aluminum foil tent and cook fish for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.  Turn fish and re-oil fish basket foil or grill halfway through cooking time.  Cut the lime butter into thin slices.  Overlap slices on top of cooked fish.  Garnish with lime wedges and serve.

Serves 6-8.

Buy the cookbook at (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Sunset Sea Scallops: Page 168, Another Taste of Aloha

When I’m ready for a quick evening meal (or a meal even my husband can put together), I keep finding myself reaching for Another Taste of Aloha.  The recipes are exactly what they claim to be – quick, healthy and delicious, and it’s such a pleasure to cook with.  For example, we love scallops, but we get tired of the same old drawn butter topping that pairs so naturally with the sweet, tender morsels.  The Sunset Sea Scallops, on page 168, Another Taste of Aloha, in the Seafood section, have a delicious citrus dressing that really brings out the scallops’ sweetness.

The dressing was easy to put together, the scallops and spinach cooked up quickly, and everything came together nicely on the plate and tasted delicious.  The citrus and basil is an excellent pairing with the tender sweet scallops and spinach.  It was a perfect quick evening meal, and a perfect way to bring out the best in the delicious scallops.  Whip it up tonight!

Golden crust + golden dressing = light evening meal worth its weight in gold!

Sunset Sea Scallops


  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh scallops
  • 1 1/2 fresh spinach, washed, trimmed and torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons orange peel, finely grated

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, mustard and pepper.  Slowly stir in olive oil.  Add 1 tablespoon basil and season with salt.  Set aside.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Over medium heat, cook half of the scallops at a time for 4 to 5 minutes or until opaque and lightly browned.  While scallops are cooking, steam the spinach in the moisture that clings to the leaves until tender, about 3 minutes.  When scallops are done, drain the spinach and arrange on a large serving platter.  Center the scallops on the spinach and pour orange dressing on top.  Garnish with remaining basil and orange zest and serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Buy the cookbook at (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Seared Tuna with Fruit Salsa Sandwich: Page 117, Aloha Days Hula Nights

Making the Seared Tuna with Fruit Salsa Sandwich on page 117 of Aloha Days Hula Nights, in the Sandwiches – Seafood section, took a lot of planning ahead, but it was definitely worth it!  The recipe called for the Pineapple-Coconut Bread (which is why I baked it and reviewed it for you), and it was a perfect match for the salty ahi, crunchy salad greens, and sweet and spicy fruit salsa (with lime juice and red onion).  The bright, citrus-y salsa really brings out the ahi’s flavor, especially if you get a good sear on the outside and serve it warm.

After the bread was made, this sandwich was actually quite easy to put together, and quite attractive – it would be a wonderful hearty meal to serve to guests, especially out-of-towners looking for some local flavor.  Pineapple, coconut, papaya, fresh ahi – this is the kind of recipe people are thinking of when they buy a Hawaii cookbook.  Share this aloha today!

PS:  You are watching me learn to sear ahi to rare in this blog – and I’m getting better (though not nearly as good as I ought to be yet). At least it is pink in the middle!

Absolutely delish – an entrée in sandwich’s clothing

Seared Tuna with Fruit Salsa Sandwich

FRUIT SALSA Ingredients:

  • 1 medium ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced

SANDWICH Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces tuna steak
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 slices Pineapple-Coconut Bread
  • 1 1/2 cups baby greens, washed and patted dry

Combine papaya, garlic, onion, lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeno in a non-reactive bowl, stirring to mix well.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Rub both sides of tuna steak with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in hot pan and sear a few minutes on each side.  Remove from pan and let sit a few minutes before cutting across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.  Place 1 slice of bread on each of four plates.  Divide greens equally.  Top with 3 to 4 slices of tuna and a large spoonful of salsa.  Lay second piece of bread decoratively against sandwich.  Serve with extra salsa on the side.

Note: See note on non-reactive bowl on page 106.  It is easier to slice tuna using a very sharp knife while slightly squeezing in sides of fish to give it firmness.

[Page 106 Note: Aluminum, unlined copper, and cast iron by themselves react poorly with acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, citrus, wine, and vinegar by imparting a metallic taste and an off color.  It is extremely important to use non-reactive substances such as stainless steel and glass when cooking or preparing acidic foods.]

Serves 4.

Buy the cookbook at (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Ahi Poke: Page 72, Aloha Days Hula Nights

A client gave my partner some beautiful wild ahi he just caught this morning and she was kind enough to share it with my office, so I knew I had to do something special with it today.  I’ve never made poke (though I eat it at least weekly), so I thought I’d try the simple Ahi Poke on page 72 of Aloha Days Hula Nights, in the Salads – Savory section.  I think I’m going to be making my own poke from now on!

Poke is a classic Hawaiian fish dish made with some sort of raw seafood: traditionally ahi, but you’ll see everything from salmon to octopus (“tako”) or even tofu.  There’s crunch from the onions, and sweet, salty, and spicy flavors from various oils and condiments (like chili oil, sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce, kukui nut powder, pepper flakes, sea salt, limu seaweed…the possibilities are endless).  It’s one of Hawaii’s healthier options, and a regular on my lunch menu.

There’s something special about fresh-caught ahi – I’m not sure I’ve ever had fish so fresh.  The flavor was so clean and rich, I was glad I didn’t have too many ingredients to distract me from the ahi.  This recipe is excellent – the perfect balance of all my favorite poke flavors.   I was surprised it sat to chill for so long, but the falvors really came together nicely, and the onions softened and took on great flavor in that time, so it was worth it.

How nice to make my favorite lunch treat at home!  If you’ve never had poke, get some sashimi-grade ahi and enjoy a taste of aloha.

Look at that beautiful fish!

Ahi Poke


  • 12 ounces good quality fresh ahi, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 medium Maui onion, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Place ahi in shallow dish in single layer.  Lightly cover with oil and soy sauce.  Sprinkle with onion, green onion, and red pepper flakes.  Toss to mix.  Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve.

Note: Just play with the amounts of everything to taste.  Great paired with the Watercress and Daikon Salad.

Serves 4.

Buy the cookbook at (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Tuna with Tapenade Sandwich: Page 115, Aloha Days Hula Nights

We wanted something quick and easy for dinner tonight, so I put together the Tuna with Tapenade, on page 115 of Aloha Days, Hula Nights, under Sandwiches – what a winner! The tapenade has green and kalamata olives, lemon, parsley, and anchovy, made silky by extra virgin olive oil, and the spread is a Dijon goat cheese – just amazing. I grilled the tuna (and the roasted garlic sourdough bread) on my stovetop cast iron grill pan and voila! Deliciously simple dinner.

The sandwich (made with roasted garlic sourdough loaf instead of baguette) – oh so tasty!

Dijon goat cheese, left, and Olive tapenade, right

Tuna with Tapenade

TAPENADE Ingredients:

  • 1 long thin baguette, divided in fourths and split horizontally
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/4 pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 anchovy, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

SANDWICH Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12-14 ounces tuna steak
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe red or yellow tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.  Grill baguette cut side down until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.  Remove and set aside.  Combine green and kalamata olives, capers, oil, lemon juice, parsley, lemon zest, and anchovy in a food processor.  Pulse just until the olives are finely chopped.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Scrape into a small bowl, cover, and set aside.

Stir together goat cheese and mustard in a small bowl, blending well.  The tapenade and Dijon mixture can be prepared one day ahead.  Keep separately, covered in refrigerator.  Bring the tapenade to room temperature before using.

Rub tuna with oil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill tuna to sear on the outside about 2 minutes per side.  Let rest a few minutes before cutting steaks across the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Spread goat cheese mixture over the bottom and top of the baguette halves.  Place bread bottoms on individual serving plates.  Add tomato and onion slices.  Arrange the tuna on top of the onions.  Add generous spoonful of tapenade.  Top with lettuce and other half of baguette.  Serve.

Serves 4.

Buy the cookbook at (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Poached Trout: Page 157, Another Taste of Aloha

Tonight we tried the Poached Trout recipe on page 157 of JLH Cookbook Another Taste of Aloha, under Seafood, and we really enjoyed it.

We substituted catfish fillets for whole trouts, and it was still delicious! The fish is poached Southeast-Asian style in water and soy sauce with ginger, then finished with smoking hot peanut oil. Sweet and salty – so good!

I’ve never poached fish before (insert gasp here), and I can’t believe how easy it is.  The fish comes out delicately flavored and moist, but still firm.  Paired with a salad, this is an excellent light supper.

Trout with a Southeast Asian Twist

Poached Trout


  • 1 – 2 pounds fresh whole trout
  • Water to cover fish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

Clean fish.  In a large deep skillet, bring the water and chopped ginger to a boil.  Add fish and turn off heat.  Let sit for 20 minutes.  Put the fish on a platter and garnish with Chinese parsley, green onions and ginger.  Heat peanut oil to smoking and pour over fish.  Serve.

Serves 2.

Buy the cookbook at (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.