Okay, this is my first post in a new series exploring some of the best dishes I’ve eaten at various restaurants, and then helping you recreate them at home.
First and foremost, let me say…I love eating at restaurants. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things in life. I love experiencing new dishes, experiencing the energy of a new place, getting away from my usual surroundings, the whole package. So, I’m not posting these recipes because I don’t want to go to restaurants, I’m posting them because I want to experiences new places, and still be able to enjoy some old favorites.
So…I, literally, want to have my cake and eat it to!
I believe that with a little research, practice, and a few basic skills, any home chef should be able to recreate a favorite restaurant dish in their own kitchen. In fact, I think the home chef should be able to make it better than in the restaurant, as they are not under the same time and budget constraints, and can focus on just a single dish instead of a trail of tickets for 20 different ones.
(By the by, if you’re interested in what I mean by “Home Chef”, please check out my post: “The Evolution of the Home Chef“)
So, for our first dish, I’m choosing an old favorite, from one of my very favorite lunch stops in the whole world, Oahu’s Poke Stop.
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What I tried: A lot of stuff
What I liked best: Furikake Salmon Pokē, Kahlua Pork Wontons
Chef Elmer Guzman operates a small but efficient kitchen that delivers the freshest, tastiest and most delectable Hawaiian Seafood dishes. Poke Stop offers a very nice selection of Poke, Sashimi/Sushi platters, hot dishes and Bentos to go.
Note: Poke (poke-a) is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Pokē is the Hawaiian verb for “to slice or cut”. Native Hawaiians have always eaten poke, and it should not be confused with raw fish dishes such as ceviche, ika ota, or kinilaw, which use vinegar or citrus juice to “cure” the fish.
Both the Furikake Salmon Pokē and the Kahlua Pork Wontons knocked my socks off (or would have, if I’d been wearing socks.)
Now, I’m from Oregon AND I’m a fisherman…I know good salmon, and this was the stuff!
Fresh and firm, it played nicely against the crunch of the raw onions. The combination of the furikake seasoning and the shoyu sauce gave a perfect contrast of sweet, salty, and savory…my favorite combination. Add in just enough red pepper flakes to command your respect without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the salmon, and…well, it’s worth a plane ticket to Oahu to get some!
My only addition to this dish: it’s VERY rich, and I would have liked to have seen it served over a “balancing” ingredient. I don’t know if cold rice would have worked (I’ll have to try it) but I think a small bed of shredded daikon radish salad (see below) would have been perfect.
Btw…Guy Fieri, host of the popular Food Network Show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” (among others) stopped at the Poke Stop’s in Mililani to check out the restaurant’s delicious menu. Among the dishes tried, was Chef Elmer’s popular, salmon poke, here’s Guy, learning how to make it:
Okay, in case you didn’t follow that recipe, don’t bother watching the clip dozen times (like I did)…here it is:
Poke Stop’s Furikake Salmon Pokē
Recipe courtesy Elmer Gonzalez, owner Poke Stop in Mililani, Hawaii.
1 pound cubed sushi grade salmon
1/4 cup diced yellow onions
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt
1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes
4 tablespoons furikake rice seasoning
2 ounces shoyu sauce
4 ounces granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cups shredded daikon radish
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine veingar
Combine salad ingredients and refrigerate up to one hour.
Be sure that all pin bones have been removed from the salmon. (See how, here.)
Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.