Maui Chef Recipe: Kapalua Food and Wine Festival Salmon with Crab

Maui Chef Recipe: Kapalua Food and Wine Festival Salmon with Crab

Maui Chefs Recipe, Salmon with Crab and Vegetables in a foil packet (image by James Carrier).Before I opened my Kaanapali restaurant, CJ’s Deli & Diner, and while the Master Chef of the Tropica restaurant at the Kaanapali Beach Westin Resort, I often participated in live cooking demostrations. One of the cooking demonstrations, for the annual Kapalua Food and Wine Festival, featured my Salmon with Crab and Vegetables in a Foil Packet recipe. Because I enjoy using fresh local ingredients whenever possible and available, the original recipe framed a party-size salmon fillet with fresh tropical leaves. While readily available here in Hawaii and sometimes at mainland florist shops, if you can’t find Ti leaves then frozen banana leaves (sold in many mainland Asian markets) are a good substitute. Or, you may omit the leaves altogether. If assembling through step 4 up to 4 hours before baking, chill the prepared packet. My recipe was originally appeared in the April 2002 Sunset Magazine.

If you can’t get to Maui for the annual Kapalua Food and Wine Festival, you can still be there in spirit with our Maui recipe:

by Chef Christian Jorgensen of CJ’s Comfort Zone Deli & Diner Maui Restaurant
Serves 6 to 8 as Main Dish
1 piece (12 by 18 in.) frozen banana leaf (optional; see notes)
1 whole salmon fillet (2 1/2 lb.)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
6 ounces shelled cooked crab
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 yellow crookneck squash (8 oz. total)
1 red bell pepper (8 oz.)
3 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Center an 18- by 28-inch piece of foil (or overlap two 12-inch-wide pieces) in a 14- by 17-inch baking pan. Rinse banana leaf and pat dry; center lengthwise on foil. Rinse fish and pat dry; rub your fingers over the flesh to find any bones, pull out with tweezers, and discard. Center fillet lengthwise, skin down, on leaf.
2. Mix the cilantro, thyme, and oregano. In a bowl, mix half the herb mixture with crab, mayonnaise, and mustard. Spread evenly over salmon. Rinse and dry bowl.
3. Rinse squash and bell pepper. Trim and discard stems from squash; stem and seed pepper. Cut vegetables into matchstick-size strips (about 3 in. long). Put vegetables, wine, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and rest of herbs in bowl and mix to coat.
4. Spread vegetable mixture over crab layer. Bring long sides of foil together over fish, wrapping banana leaf partially around fish, then fold in ends to seal.
5. Bake in a 450° regular or convection oven until fish reaches 140° in center of thickest part (insert thermometer through foil and vegetable and crab layers to test), 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer packet to a platter and unwrap to serve; or, if desired, with two wide spatulas, carefully transfer leaf and fish from foil to platter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cut fish into portions; slip a spatula between skin and fillet and lift off portions, leaving skin behind.

This recipe is also available at:

If you try this recipe at home, please leave us a comment below. Enjoy Chef prepared service for Maui Hawaii weddings or any other Maui event.

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CJ’s Kaanapali Diner Review

My daughter and I visited Maui a couple of weeks ago and came to your restaurant 3 times. I just wanted to thank you for your willingness to meet our gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free requirements. We loved being able to eat out safely and wish we had a CJ’s at home! I just wrote you a stellar review on Trip Advisor. Hope you have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Kelley MacCabe
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Review

Wonderful for a Sunday Brunch since you can order breakfast until 11:00am! Had a ‘custom’ 3 ingredient omelette (I chose mushrooms, feta and spinach) with nicely crunchy on the outside and soft inside home potatoes, yummy. Hubby had the pancakes with fresh fruit! These are light fluffy slightly sweet batter pancakes, not those heavy bland ones (OK I admit it, I had to have a few bites of his breakfast…) Service was fast and friendly :0). The menu is EXTENSIVE, we live here and love it!

Kathy, Lahaina, Maui
CJ’s Deli and Diner Maui Restaurant Review

Fact: CJ’s Maui onion soup will melt your face off it’s so good. Best I’ve ever had. It gets 20 stars.
Alas, it’s not on the menu every day… But when my fiancee and I went this past summer and were lucky to meet Chef CJ in person and mentioned that we had been thinking about the onion soup since the last time we visited two years earlier, he was kind enough to put it on the next day’s menu. We went back the following day and ordered it, and it was amazing, just as we had remembered. Another fact: the onion soup at CJ’s is better than the onion soup at Mama’s Fish House (and at like 1/4th of the price). Really. It’s that good. Part of me wants to reverse engineer CJ’s onion soup recipe, quit my job, and make millions selling onion soup to the mainland masses! (or: CJ, wanna make a deal?)
I think that the loco moco gravy is made from the same goodness. So that’s great too. The potato salad is tasty as well.
The to-go lunch plate is respectable.

Jonny S, San Diego, CA
Maui Chef CJ Prepares Mushroom Soup for Kaanapali Restaurant Guest

On a previous visit to Maui, I had the most delicious mushroom soup at CJ’s Deli and Diner in Kaanapali. When I arrived in Maui this week, I emailed the restaurant and asked what day they might have the soup. The owner and chef, Christian Jorgensen (CJ), promptly replied even though he was on vacation in Vegas. He gave me a number to call to check on the soup of the day. Then when he returned to Maui on Friday, he emailed me to let me know he would have the soup for me on Saturday. When I got there, he was so friendly and the soup was even more scrumptious than I had remembered. I really appreciated how valued he made me feel as a customer.

Linda D.
CJs Maui Restaurant Customer

Good Morning, My wife and I spent last week in Maui. Your early bird special was the best. After we found you, we ate breakfast there every morning. You had two regular coffees that we just loved.

James T Wilson Jr
Maui Restaurant Customer

The best burger I ever had! Great Service! Fantastic Food!! Simply Awesome.

Pat Janostin, Champlin MN
Kaanapali Restaurant Customer Comment

Thanks for all the Good Food. Best we have ad since we hit the island 5 days ago!

Jeff and Myra V., Ontario, Ohio

CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comments on CJ’s Private Luau in her Blog

Aloha, Just wanted to let you know that this post was up last Friday and it will be included (linked) with all of our Hawaii properties. Thank you both for excellent service. You made our trip to Maui very memorable! Feel free to comment on the post. It’s always good to have additional information and your input.

Nancy Solomon, Travel Writer
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

Aloha, We were in to see you many times during our stay last month in Ka’anapali, couple of things for you:
Need to order some more of your CJ’s roasted Kona Coffee. I see it’s not yet on your website, only the Maui Coffee Co. stuff. We ran out last weekend and are having withdrawls, please help!! Need 2 bags urgently!!
Secondly, your claim about having the best corned beef hash on the island. I think you’ve understated this because it’s the best I’ve had any where in the world! And that covers a lot of ground as I’ve been to every continent multiple times. Just the best anywhere, period!! Don’t suppose you would have that for delivery to Indiana would you? Maybe by the pound(s)?
Great people and even better food, Mahalo CJ’s. Seriously though, please let me know about that coffee. How do we get some ordered and shipped to Indiana?

Bill Clark, Valparaiso, In.
CJ’s Maui Restaurant Customer Comment

​CJ’s Deli & Diner Rocks! Been here several times while visiting Maui – each time we tried different meals and each time we LOVED the food, service and atmosphere. Only suggestion would be to provide regular dinner napkins along with this paper type – because we’re messy!

Aloha and Mahalo from Detroit