By Rebecca Gardon
Praised for its nutritional value, taste and sustainability, seaweed is one of the best edibles you can pull from the sea.
One of the few foods naturally high in iodine, seaweed helps promote a healthy thyroid – the critical gland that helps produce and regulate hormones. It provides eight times more potassium than milk, and is bursting with a broad range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant and detoxifying properties. Furthermore, it is naturally powered by the sun, grows plentifully and rapidly, and can be harvested with no negative carbon footprint.
A true superfood, edible seaweed typically comes in three varieties: brown, red and green. Most people are familiar with nori, a type of dried seaweed commonly used with sushi grade fish and other dishes in Japanese and Korean cuisine. Thanks to culinary trends such as poke, the increased availability of live, fresh seaweed is a refreshing change in the marketplace. From our fish shop, chefs and home customers alike can purchase live ogo year-round. In late spring and summer, we also offer dulse.
In Hawaii, where seaweed is referred to as “limu,” ogo is typically what you find in traditional poke recipes. Bursting with ocean flavor, ogo is reddish brown in color, with a delightfully fluffy, crisp texture. Along with poke, it is ideal for serving raw in salads and with ceviche, sushi and shellfish preparations. It can be used in hot or cold broths to add interesting taste and texture. When cooked, it turns a deep green color. If you want to diminish a bit of the saltiness, reduce crispness and brighten color, simply boil ogo for 10 seconds.
Dulse is a thicker, brownish variety of seaweed best known for its bacon-like taste when fried. It becomes quite crisp and makes for a perfect snack or crumbly topper for seafood, salads and more. Of course, fresh dulse can be served raw or steamed, too. It is often used to enhance broths and savory libations, lending a deep umami flavor.
When it comes to seaweed the culinary possibilities are truly endless. Raw dulse is perfect for pickling or for use in curing fish. Because it is one of the seaweeds used to make agar, ogo can be used in desserts and other dishes that call for a thickened or gelatinous consistency. Perhaps even more interesting is that when ogo is submerged in alcohol it turns bright orange. It happens quickly and is visually stunning. Think about that next time you’re concocting a themed cocktail or lining up party shots during your next soiree!