Photo by khawkins04
Seaweed at Work
Leaving no resource untapped, many put seaweed to work in food in all sorts of ways. Here are a few types of and uses for the weeds from the sea.
Wakame is a brownish-green, frizzled-looking seaweed with a delicate saline flavor which is used throughout Asia. It is sold dried, in packages, and must be reconstituted in cold water before use. It can then be added to soups, stews, or salads.
- Kombu, a giant kelp, is ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine. Along with bonito, kombu is an essential element of dashi, the foundation stock of most soups and sauces. Kombu is usually sold dried, in a flat or folded sheet. Kombu must be soaked until soft before use, and is then usually used twice before it is discarded.
- Nori, also very important to Japanese cuisine, is used to wrap maki sushi, like a California Roll. It is usually dried and compressed into dark green or black sheets, which must then be toasted in an oven or over a flame before use. Nori can be shredded and deep-fried or it can be added to soups. It is also sold in a shaker, from which it is sprinkled on rice, noodles, and soups as a condiment.
- Seaweed, the no-name New England variety, is an essential component of an authentic New England clambake, which begins with a deep pit in which a fire has burned down to coals. Seaweed still full of sea is then layered on top of these coals. Clams, lobsters, corn, and even fish are placed between seaweed layers which then steam the food and saturate it with the taste of the black sea.