It can be unnerving to have seaweed brushing against your leg during a morning swim, and smelly when it washes up on the beach.
But it can also be a hearty substitute for country vegetables.
Chef Tom Kral, also known as “Nature’s Chef”, specializes in wild foods. He especially loves working with different types of algae.
He says his interest in seaweed came naturally. “It was the call of the wild,” he said All points west Innkeeper Kathryn Marlow.
He says bull kelp, the long seaweed with a bulb-like bulb at the end, is his favorite to cook with.
He compares its flavor to green pepper and says it pairs well with tomatoes, making it a great addition to salsas and other sauces.
The best way to harvest it, he says, is to just swim or paddle to it — and grab it. To dry, he suggests hanging seaweed on a clothesline or anywhere in the house.
“It will make beautiful decorations in your house,” said Kral.
Once dried, it can last up to 10 years, he added.
Here are some of Kral’s favorite ways to cook with seaweed:
Bull kelp cannelloni
Cannelloni (sauce below):
- 12 pieces of fresh seaweed fronds, about 10 inches long
- 4 cups wrapped borage leaves (substitute lamb quarters, nettle, or spinach)
- 1/2 lemon, grated
- 2 cups of ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the seaweed fronds for about 10 seconds, then run them under cold water to cool. Drain the fronds and lay them out on a tray.
Place the borage leaves in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then run them under cold water and drain them as well. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the leaves, then finely chop them.
Place the ricotta, borage leaves, lemon zest, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.
Take the ricotta filling, place a large spoonful at the bottom of a frond of seaweed and roll up into a cannelloni. Do this for each frond.
Place the cannelloni in a casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.
- 2 cups sprouted brown lentils
- 12 Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 250 ml canned tomato paste
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cups of water
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 sprigs of fresh basil, chiffonade
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
In a non-reactive saucepan, gently sauté onions in sunflower oil over medium-high heat.
Once translucent, add the chopped tomatoes and sauté for five minutes.
Then add the garlic and fry for another two minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for half an hour until the lentils are soft.
Bull kelp pickles
- 1 fresh bulltang stalk (stalk)
- 2 1/2 cups vinegar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt seasoning
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
Put the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, salt spices and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil to create the brine.
Cut the bulltang stalk into rings. Blanch each in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then immediately rinse in cold water. Place the seaweed rings in jars.
When the brine boils, pour it into glasses to cover the seaweed. Place the lids on the jar, but leave a gap to allow the brine to cool.
Bull kelp pickles can be stored in the fridge for weeks or canned like regular pickles.
- 1 cup freshly picked feather boa kelp pods
- 1 liter of water
- 40 mg salt
Put water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cut a small hole where the pod attaches to the stem to allow liquid to flow in.
Blanch the seaweed in boiling water for 10 seconds, then quickly shock in cold water.
Put the seaweed in a glass. When the water and salt or brine come to a boil, pour into the jars to cover the seaweed.
Leave the lids open, allow the brine to cool, then place in the refrigerator.
The sea olives can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.