“Imagine snorkeling near the surface of a calm sea, staring into the clear blue depths.”
Now picture a moment when, in the blink of an eye, that calm is broken by the focus and pursuit of spearing and landing a large fish. You are fully aware of the dangers involved in this pursuit, such as gear malfunction, sharks, and the fact that many of your target species — such as dogtooth tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi — are powerful and have weapons of their own. The consequences of a mistake are very real, but when everything goes right it easily becomes one of the most thrilling and rewarding experiences.
After a successful hunt, you hold the beautiful sea entity in your hands and watch its electric colors fade. The feelings of excitement and joy often transition to pangs of remorse, which soon gives way to a feeling of gratitude and respect. This animal will not go to waste. It will soon provide nourishment for you, your family, your friends and even the villagers who might be hosting you during your travels.
Finally, you’re back on shore preparing and plating your prey. It’s beautiful. You take a bite, and all of the wonderful flavors of the day’s contradictions dance on your tongue.
1 1/2 lb. fresh-caught and filleted uku snapper
1 sliced shallot or 1/2 diced onion
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp. black sesame seeds
Uku can be caught year-round in Hawaii, but from May to July its higher fat content makes it ideal for Poke. Cut the fresh uku into 1/2” cubes and refrigerate. It’s important to keep it cold during and after preparation.
In a bowl mix all of the ingredients together. Flavors will intensify over time, but the Poke must be consumed within 12 hours. Portion in small chilled bowls with rice crisps or tortilla chips as an accompaniment to keep the dish gluten free. Garnish the Poke with black sesame seeds and fresh sliced scallions before enjoying with friends.