Grilled Nairagi with Avocado, Tomato, Caper, Cilantro & Lime Salsa

© 2012

Nairagi on the continental US generally refers to Striped Marlin; however, Nairagi is the Hawaiian name applied to all marlin species caught in Hawaii. Striped marlin, nairagi, are usually between 40 and 100 pounds in weight. Prized nairagi has a reddish-orange colored flesh with a bright red blood meat to let you know it’s fresh. Although typically caught with longline boats that stay out for 2 weeks at a time, with proper care, nairagi will retain a high quality for up to three weeks after capture.

This dish is a beautiful, grilled nairagi. It’s grilling time of year and the local market had some beautiful nairagi this week. We hadn’t seen nice naiagi in quite some time. When you see high quality nairagi, as stated above, it is a beautiful reddish-orange color with a strip of bright red blood meat. The blood meat is very strong and fishy tasting like all fish blood meat; so it must be removed. As with tuna, nairagi is frequently used in raw fish preparations as poke, sashimi or carpaccio. One of my favorite poke dishes is with fresh marlin from Tamashiro Market in Honolulu. It is killer! When cooked, nairagi is best cooked somewhere between seared and medium rare. This dish was meant to bring out the flavor of the nairagi yet highlight it with the flavors of summer. It worked. When you’re in the mood to grill, give this a try. You will enjoy it.


For the Salsa

  • 1 large Hass avocado, peeled and diced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Nairagi

  • 1.5 lbs mairagi filets, blood meat removed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil


For the salsa

Put the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, serrano chiles, salt, capers and lemon juice in a bowl and toss to incorporate. Add the diced avocado and gently toss to keep from breaking up.

For the nairagi

Oil and eason the nairagi with salt and pepper.

© 2012

Place the nairagi on the grill over medium high heat. Cook 90 sends per side.

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When done, remove from heat. Slice nairagi on a bevel. Place on plate and top with the salsa. Add stir fried sugar snap peas. Serve and enjoy. Delish!

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Of course, our son “Quickstep,” being the Mexican foodaholic he is, wanted his as a taco on flour tortillas. I’m coming to the conclusion he doesn’t like using a knife and fork. So, this was his dinner.

© 2012

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