On a trip to the Antarctic, nutritionist Rosemary Stanton discovered an unlikely smorgasbord in the icy waters: several varieties of edible seaweed. To her surprise, the stringier the seaweed, the better. “The tougher-looking ones… were most palatable,” she says.
Eating seaweed is still a novelty in most parts of the world. But that could be about to change as large-scale cultivation takes off. Seaweeds are packed with nutrition – they are low in fat and rich in iodine, iron and several vitamins. They are also an alternative source of the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish.
Stanton was recently involved in a project that brought together seaweed producers and chefs to create Coastal Chef: Culinary art of seaweed & algae in the 21st century (Harbour Publishing House, 2014), a cookbook promoting edible species.
Now there’s no excuse not to try seaweed for yourself (of the edible variety, of course). Here are recipes for a three-course meal – for when you’re feeling like something a little bit different. Bon appétit!
Raw orange-wakame salad
Number of portions: 4
- 3 tablespoons wakame flaked, soaked in 2 cups hot water
- 1/4 cup mirin (a type of sweetened rice wine)
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 oranges or tangerines, peeled and sliced
- 5 red radishes, cut in half and sliced
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds or gomasio
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
Soak the wakame in water for 10 minutes and drain water. If you are using whole leaf wakame, soak and then cut middle stem out and then cut wakame into 1 inch squares.
Add mirin and sea salt. Mix in the cucumber, oranges, radishes, green onion, sesame seeds, and brown rice vinegar.
Allow to sit in refrigerator for 1 hour or more. Serve chilled.
(Source: Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetable Company)
Blue eye cod saccharina and clams en papiotte
Number of portions: 1
- 180g blue eye cod fillet
- 5 diamond clams
- 1 large field mushroom, sliced
- 120g Saccharina japonica or kelp seaweed soaked in water then finely sliced, julienne style
- 20g leek fondue (this is simply one leek chopped finely and cooked in olive oil quickly and allowed to cool)
- 30ml white wine
- a small knob of butter
- espelette*, salt and pepper to season
*espelette is a type of French chilli pepper that is cultivated in the Basque region of France. If you cannot find espelette, use any chilli powder or seasoning of your choice.
Take a long sheet of aluminium foil and fold each end down about 10 centimetres. Place entire sheet over a round, shallow baking dish or pan.
Place the leek fondue in the middle of the foil and layer the sliced mushroom and the finely sliced Saccharina, then place the cod fillet on top of the seaweed.
Season with the espelette, salt and pepper. Place the clams around the fish stack, with the butter, drizzle the white wine and a little olive oil over the fish stack.
Cover the stack with another piece of foil and seal the edges of the two pieces of foil together to form a tight parcel (“en papiotte”), making sure there are no holes.
Bake for 15 minutes at 200 ºC. To serve, carefully pierce the foil (which will have expanded with steam in the oven), and peel back to reveal the beautifully cooked fish and clams.
Serve immediately along with some fresh crusty bread to soak up the pan juices.
(Source: Coastal Chef: Culinary art of seaweed & algae in the 21st century, chef: Jean François Salet)
Seaweed fairy floss and caramel custard
Number of portions: 10
For the custard
- 300ml condensed milk
- 300ml milk
- 300ml cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 sheets of gold leaf gelatin
- 250g brown sugar
For the garnish
- Wakame powder
- Hana Tsunomata
- Vanilla Persian fairy floss
For the strawberry sauce
- 250g strawberries
- 100g caster sugar
- 50ml lemon juice
For the custard
Place unopened tin of condensed milk in a pot of boiling water and boil for 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before opening carefully. Combine the condensed milk, milk, cream, vanilla extract and brown sugar in a pot.
Soften the gelatin sheets in cold water and then squeeze excess water out before adding to the cream mixture. Simmer this mix gently and remove from the heat. Once cool, pour mixture into ramekins and refrigerate until set.
For the strawberry sauce
Blend strawberries, caster sugar and lemon juice until smooth and pass through a fine sieve to remove the strawberry seeds.
To assemble the dish, unmold a custard-filled ramekin onto a plate. Top with a mound of fairy floss and sprinkle with Wakame powder. Add four decorative puddles of strawberry sauce onto the plate and scatter fronds of Hana Tsunomata to garnish, as desired.
(Source: Coastal Chef: Culinary art of seaweed & algae in the 21st century, chef: David Campbell)
Photo caption: Blue eye cod saccharina and clams en papiotte (Image: Nikki Wright)
View original article at: Seaweed supper: recipes for a three-course meal