Awhile back it was difficult to get folks to think of seaweed as anything more than sushi. Times have changed, seaweed is becoming popular due to its many fantastic flavors, ways to use and the great health benefits. These benefits include 56 vitamins and minerals. Plus, seaweed is a sustainable food that grows abundantly without fertilizers or pesticides.
I have been enjoying (and learning a lot) from Ocean Greens written by Lisette Kreischer & Marcel Schuttelaar. In addition to enhancing the flavor of your food and adding some serious nutrition another reason to explore seaweeds in your kitchen is sustainability. "On the cutting edge of food and sustainability, seaweed and sea vegetables are good both for you and—with the potential to drastically reduce our carbon footprint—for the planet" (quote from Ocean Greens website).
One section I really loved was "Special Ingredients". I tend to use seaweed as a spice and often reduce or eliminate the salt. As I read thru there was a section about salt, especially sea salts. Sea salts are more complex and nutritious than ordinary table salt. In the book they prefer Danish smoked salts for their intense smokey aroma. I'm totally thinking seafood as I'm writing- just the idea of that smokey aroma. In addition to the intense aroma Danish salt is also high quality in terms of the salt making process and mineral content. Being in Maine we have some great salt makers including the Maine Sea Salt Company. My two favorites happen to be Hickory Smoked and Dulse.
Another spice I'm eager to try with seaweed is Smoked Paprika. According to Ocean Greens Smoked Paprika adds a deep meaty flavor. Don't use regular Paprika but look for the smoked variety which is from a particular pepper cooked over an open flame.
An ingredient not mentioned in the book but that I particularly love with seaweed is dark rum. Prannie Rhatigan's Irish Seaweed Kitchen introduced me to the world of baking with seaweeds. Now whenever I am making a cake, muffin or brownie I replace the vanilla with chopped dulse soaked in dark rum. I let it mellow together when I start mixing my batter and at the final few stirs fold it in. It's totally yumminess. Ocean Greens has some beautiful sweet recipes including Chocolate Chip and "Weed" cookies and a lovely Chocolate, Raspberry and Seaweed Cake. I can't wait for my backyard raspberries to ripen. Our Ocean Inspired Sugar Cookies are a twist on the traditional.