Big Fish – Best Fish

Among a bazillion other things, my Dad taught me to fish. We played at superstitions like sports people do and he had a silly fishing mantra that still rings in my mind when I set a hook:  “Small fish – bait fish . Big fish – best fish“                   

We chanted the mantra and laughed a lot the last time we fished together at his “secret spot” on the island. There was about a mile walk through a jungle that opened to a small rocky beach with a close-in reef that surrounded a pool of insane turquoises and blues. Most people don’t think of salmon as a South Pacific fish but they roam all of Mother’s oceans and this was their place.They were Dad’s favorite and he had found their hiding spot. He hooked a salmon so enormous that day that we happily shared it with a nearby village.  When I took my nostalgia mood filled self back recently I was surprised by a stunning local woman walking out of the entrance to the jungle with two gorgeous salmon. She was more than curious as to how I knew about this place. I explained about Dad’s Secret Spot and after we talked about how she had fought them and was going to prepare them. In true Aloha spirit she offered me one. Not wanting to leave our meeting at such a brief chance encounter, I offered to prepare “my salmon” for us that evening. This is the resulting dish.                          

There is little better than fresh salmon simply prepared, unless it’s salmon that was caught by a beautiful island woman covered in a mouth watering rum glaze. You know I mean the fish, right? Although…anyway, back to cooking. The salty sweetness and spicy flavors of the marinade come alive when reduced into a thicker glaze and spooned over the salmon. You can add a touch of hot sauce for another dimension of flavors but the marinade-sauce alone really accentuates the best of a salmon. That taste is complimented nicely by the fruity, garden flavor of mango chutney, and the curried sweet potatoes move it in a smoothly spiced, exotic direction.

This song Aloha Spirit. reminds me of the woman I met fishing. I stumbled for something to say as she walked away, and when I thanked her yet again she looked over her shoulder, laughed a little, and said “Share the aloha, Yah?”. The music is as dreamy as my memory of then. Perfect for Prefunctory Cocktails and Conversation.


 Fish and sauce

2 skinless salmon fillets

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons dark rum

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Cooking spray


Jasmine Rice

1 Cup Jasmine Rice 

1 Cup Coconut Milk 

1 Cup water    

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt 

Zest of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil  

Curried Sweet Potatoes

1 1⁄2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks

1 1⁄2 lbs  carrots peeled and cut into chunks

3 tablespoons butter 

1 small onion 

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon curry powder

1⁄2 cup mango chutney 

salt and pepper                                                                          

Mango Chutney                                                    

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil.                                                             

Red Bell Pepper, seeded, and chopped                            

1/2 cup Red Onion, chopped                                                  

1 Tbsp Garlic, minced                            

1 Tbsp Ginger Root, minced        

1 Tbsp Curry Powder        

1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes 2 Mango, chopped                         

1 1/2 Lime, juiced

Salmon and Sauce

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. 

Add fish to bag and seal. Marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, and huli (turn) occasionally.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high. 

Add fish and marinade to pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. 

Place fillet on the plate and drizzle with about 2 teaspoons sauce. 

Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions and 3/4 teaspoon sesame seeds.

Jasmine Rice

Rinse the rice in cool water, stirring gently with your fingers, until the water runs clear. 

Drain the water. 

Rub the bottom of the pot with the oil then place the rice on top. 

Add the coconut milk, water, and salt then stir gently to blend. 

With medium heat bring mixture to a gentle boil then reduce heat and cover. 

Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for at least ten minutes. 

Fluff with fork and sprinkle with lime zest before serving. I meant the rice, but green is very much your color and you would smell so nice.

Mango Chutney

In a large frying pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat.

Add garlic and ginger to the frying pan and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add red onion and red bell pepper to the frying pan and continue to sauté for another minute.

Add the chopped mango, lime juice, curry powder, and red pepper flakes.

Continue to sauté until the red bell pepper, onion, and mango have softened. About 5 minutes.

Turn heat down to simmer, and cover with a lid until serving

Curried Sweet Potatoes

Cook potatoes and carrots in boiling water until tender, drain, reserve some cooking liquid.

In a small pan, melt butter.

Cook onion, garlic, and ginger until soft but not brown.

Add curry powder, and cook 1 minute more.

Puree potatoes and carrots using a food processor, food mill, or mash with potato masher.

Mix in curry mixture and chutney, if mixture is too thick, thin with reserved cooking liquid.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Please complete our semi-mandatory-but-strictly-your-choice feedback form. Admitedly, if you don’t, it will hurt my feelings a bit. But again, your choice.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. CarolCooks2 says:

    This all sounds delicious, Kevin I love the sweet potato and mango chutney recipes have Bm to try …I already make my own Mango chutney but this is slightly different recipe to mine but sounds good…Will let you know 🙂 Happy New Year 🙂


  2. Kevin McCarthy says:

    Thanks for all of your kind words. Happy New Year , Carol!


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