The following recipes are from Sea Vegetable Celebration by Shep Erhart and Leslie Cerier (Book Publishing Co.; paperback, 163 pages; $14.50). All recipes use dried seaweeds.
Cucumber Sea Vegetable Salad
¼ cup each of alaria and laver
½ cup each of kelp and dulse
3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 ½ teaspoons lightly toasted sesame seeds
2 to 3 medium cucumbers, peeled and cut into long strips
Chopped scallions, parsley, or slices of sweet red pepper for garnish (optional)
Simmer the alaria and kelp gently in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. While they are cooking, scissor-snip the dulse into small pieces. Pull apart the laver and toast it lightly in a skillet over medium heat while stirring and crushing until crisp and fragrant. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, tamari, ginger, and sesame seeds. Mix in the cucumbers and set aside. Cut the kelp into small squares or diamonds. Strip the alaria leaf from its midrib and chop small. Add the dulse and laver, then mix with the cucumbers. Chill and marinate a few hours. Taste, adjust the seasonings, garnish, and serve.
New England Dulse Chowder
1 cup water
1 medium onion, diced
2–3 medium potatoes, chopped
1 ounce dulse
½ pound fresh or frozen corn
1 quart plain soymilk (not lite)
White or yellow miso, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
¼–½ teaspoon tarragon (optional)
In a medium pot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add diced onions, then potatoes. Cook 5 to 10 minutes. Add the dulse and corn, and cook for 1 minute. Add soymilk and reduce the heat to a simmer (do not boil the soymilk or it will curdle). Stir occasionally. The dulse will separate into pieces after a few minutes. Add miso, pepper, and tarragon and serve.
The DLT (Dulse, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich)
Small handful of dry dulse
Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
Mayonnaise (soy or regular)
2 slices bread or one large pita
Pull apart the dulse, remove any shells and shell fragments, then pan fry in an oiled pan until dulse crisps, turns yellow/green, and smells like bacon. Or bake at 300 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes on a lightly oiled tray. Spread the mayo on the bread. Add lettuce, dulse, and tomato, and serve.
We recommend getting your seaweed from a certified purveyor. Harvesting yourself can pose risks to your health and the environment and is not endorsed by Down East.
Which dishes do seaweed lovers love most
Shep Erhart, Founder, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables
“It’s a BLT, except we call it a DLT — a dulse, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. You take dulse and you pan-fry it with just a little bit of oil. It’s salty, oily, and crunchy, just like really good bacon. You can eat it just like that — people go crazy for it. But you can also stick it in a sandwich with a little mayo, lettuce, and tomato. It’s dynamite. It gives you the same experience as the BLT. Maybe even better.”
Tollef Olson, Founder and CEO, Ocean Approved
“We’re working on guilt-free desserts, and one of my absolute favorite recipes is this carrot cake that my daughter, Pratt Olson, makes. She substitutes kelp for half the carrot. And you don’t notice a difference in the taste because our version of the kelp has an extremely mild taste and a pleasant texture. The cake is outrageous!”
Sarah Redmond, Marine Extension Associate, Maine Sea Grant
“I eat dulse grilled cheese on a pretty regular basis. It’s really fast and extremely delicious. Dulse is a red seaweed, and it is just amazing with melted cheese. Whenever we do workshops, we have people try it. [Dulse] is very easy to use in savory dishes, so something as basic as grilled cheese is an easy way to [demonstrate] the flavor.”
Hillary Krapf, Founder, Maine Seaweed Festival
“I like seaweed smoothies because they’re ‘anyone-friendly.’ But I really don’t have a favorite. I just love to keep re-creating. It’s like, ‘Will seaweed work in this? By golly, yes it will!’”
To read more about Maine’s wealth of kelp — and it’s route to your plate — read our feature article, “Kelp: It’s What’s For Dinner.”
Or read a quick primer on some edible seaweeds found in Maine.