Everytime I run a Seaweed Foraging Course I make tasters. Sometimes I stick to old favourites like seaweed hummus, or 3 Seaweed Soup though often I tweak things or experiment - I like to keep things fresh and new.
Frequently I make seaweed bread and dips; it's easy, accessible and bread is a brilliant carrier for all sorts of toppings on the beach. In my Seaweed book I have a perfect hummus recipe, and a Crab and Alaria Seaweed salad (image below).
I don't often get to teach this seaweed, so doing so, and eating it is a real treat. Alaria esculenta is also known as Dabberlocks, Tangle or sometimes Atlantic Wakame, and is one of the seaweeds that is delicious raw. This makes it perfect for marinades and salads. I love crab, though veganism is becoming more and more popular, so I decided to tweak the recipe and make it vegan, so everyone on my most recent seaweed course could enjoy it.
Alaria Esculenta doesn't grow everywhere, though we do have it off the Cornish coast, and it is most similar to Wakame - a Japanese seaweed used in salads and soups. I share more about this on my courses (there's just too much to say here!).
Here's the recipe;
Carrot, Ginger and Alaria Seaweed Salad
This is really easy to make though ideally you need to marinade the seaweed overnight. You can use fresh or dried seaweed and you could use ginger juice (juice yourself) rather than pickled ginger (available in Asian food stores).
- 15cm dried alaria esculenta seaweed or 25cm fresh (this should be the oldest part, with the stipe/stem and 2/3 of the seaweed left behind for it to rejuvenate)
- 50g pickled ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 300g carrots
Finely chop the seaweed and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the ginger followed by the rest of the ingredients, except the carrots. Stir thoroughly to coat, cover and leave overnight. In the morning grate the carrots and add to the marinade. Mix well and empty the contents into a container with a well-sealed lid and take to the beach, or serve in a salad bowl.
Goes really well with seaweed hummus, seaweed bread, added into stir fries, with noodles, with fried rice, and well, lots of things!
To find out more about identifying and harvesting seaweeds sustainably do check out the seaweed foraging courses or if you want to save money, my seaweed book with recipes, identification, nutrition and lots of tips is just £6.95.
I've been reading in this Saturday's Guardian how Thomasina Miers has been supping lots of soup so far this year, and I feel like saying 'me too', though not for the same reasons many women have validly and valiantly been saying this across continents.
Tommi Mier's restaurant chain Wahaca specialise in Mexican food, and while this isn't a Mexican dish, it is definitely inspired by the spicy punch that Mexican food often has. My me too is about supping soups. Soups that are warming, healthy and bring people together, especially on a cold March morning. It's been cold, too cold and soup is the perfect remedy, this one's got a chilli kick to get your inner fire going, if it isn't already by the outrageous scale of the #metoo movement and the injustices it highlights.
Back to the soup.
This soup using 3 locally foraged seaweeds;
- Kelp (Laminaria digitata)
- Sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima)
- Sea spaghetti or Thongweed (Himanthalia elongata)
These could also be substituted for a mixture of;
- any kelp seaweed (Dabberlocks, Oarweed, Furbelows, Wakame),
- any wrack seaweed (Bladder wrack, Serrated or Toothed, Spiralled)
- pepper dulse could also be used instead of black pepper for one layer of the 'kick'.
Oh, by the way, kelp is called kombu in Japan, and the basis of this soup is similar to a vegan version of dashi stock which combines kombu and shitake mushrooms (and omits bonito flakes which are fish).
There is lots, lots more I could say about seaweed, and soups, though here I'll keep it simple and just offer you this recipe.
(Soaking the seaweed and straining off the ingredients for making the broth)
Three Seaweed Soup
A warming broth which is so simple to make and is great on its own or can be used as a base for a noodle soup or more of a substantial soup, broth or stew.
- 12cm length of dried kelp (or 1/3 more if fresh)
- 12 cm length of dried sugar kelp (or 1/3 more if fresh)
- 10cm single length of sea spaghetti (or 1/3 more if fresh)
- 2 litres boiling water
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3cm chunk of ginger root, chopped
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- small handful of dried chanterelle mushrooms
- 1-1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- soy sauce to taste
Cut all of the seaweeds into small pieces and place in a large pan. Add the boiling water, then all the rest of the ingredients, except the soy sauce. Place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for 40 minutes. Place the mixture in a food processor and blend till the pieces are broken down, or strain if you prefer a clear broth. Add the soy sauce to taste. Serves 6 as a small bowl of soup, or 12 as a small starter/taster.
The finished Broth, before I ladle it into a hot food flask and take it to the beach to share with participants on a seaweed foraging course.