Aku "Caesar"

Aku (skipjack) is highlighted in this dish to showcase its bold flavor, beautiful, deep red coloration, and roots in Hawai`i’s food culture.  

It was kapu (forbidden) for aku and ʻōpelu to be sourced at the same time.  Both types of fish were prized and considered near sacred in ancient Hawaiian culture.  Aku could only be caught during January through June, and ʻōpelu from July through December.  

Japan’s introduction of sampans, a type of wooden-hulled boat, along with their own unique fishing methods, caused a boon to commercial fishing of aku in Hawai`i during the early 1900s.

One of the most common ways locals in Hawai`i enjoy eating aku is by salting and drying the fillets in the sun.  The technique of salting and drying was borrowed from the Ancient Hawaiians as a form of food preservation, and the flavor of the aku is intensified through this process.  

I’ve used this technique as inspiration to create the main element of this salad - the house-cured and dried aku, which is incorporated into the dressing and is also grated onto Hirabara Farms Baby Greens.

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