California’s southern coastline is carrying a lot of skipjack. Their schools are ranging between several hundreds up to a couple of thousand. Our local seiners are in hot pursuit.
Here’s the reality: Skipjack have a bad reputation. Besides the strong flavors, the meat itself, if not properly taken care of from the moment the fish is caught, goes to mush. Then it’s trash time. But if properly bled, and put on ice from the get-go, skipjack makes a mighty tasty poke, espcially the small ones. Their flavors are more mild and their meat is not nearly as deep red.
But even big skipjack can be good. Ask the Hawaiians, they are skipjack , or “Aku” lovers. In fact, all the pacific islands depend on Aku as a major, sustainable food source. In terms of traditional Hawaiian pokes, Aku poke is the local Hawaiian favorite. Packed with omega-3’s and tons of vitamins and minerals, the nutrient rich skipjacks can taste as good as any tuna, if kept super fresh and cold.
When you catch some skipjacks, bleed them right away (I cut the gills and slash the base of the tails), keep them on ice and make some poke!
- 5 or 6-pound skipjacks, four fillets from each fish, 2-pounds total
- 3 cucumbers cut into half moons
- 1 bundle green onions chopped
- 2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
- 1 Tbsp. Sambal chili paste
- 1 Small lime juiced
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 2 Passion fruit, scooped out (substitute tangerines or sweet oranges)
- Black sesame seeds
- Cut the skipjack fillets into one inch cubes and place into a bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
- Create the poke sauce by adding the soy sauce, Sambal, sesame seed oil, and lime juice into a small mixing bowl and stir.
- Place the cut cucumbers, green onions in a large mixing bowl. Add the skipjack cubes, and scooped out passion fruit (seeds and all!) with the vegetables and stir.
- Now add the poke sauce, mix and serve, garnish with black sesame seeds. Enjoy.