Cooking with Fresh Seaweed
Seaweed has always been an important part of the human diet. In some countries, such as Japan, people commonly eat freshly gathered or dried seaweeds. In the United States, we also eat seaweed products, sometimes without realizing it. Stabilizers and emulsifiers (such as carageenan) extracted from some seaweeds have been used in the production of toothpaste, gelatins, puddings, and ice cream. Near Sakonnet, Rhode Island, Irish moss has been commercially harvested as a source of carageenan. And, of course, what would a Rhode Island clambake be without mounds of steaming brown rockweed?
Sea lettuce seasoning
Wash Irish moss several times in fresh water. Heat milk and seaweed in a double boiler. Cook over boiling water for about 30 minutes (no more), stirring occasionally. Strain through cheesecloth and discard the Irish moss. Add sugar and salt to the milk and allow to partially cool. Add fruit or flavoring as blanc mange begins to thicken. (Suggested additions: blueberries, raspberries, almond flavoring, or honey. ) Pour into molds and chill in the refrigerator for several hours. May be served with cream.Irish moss salad
Wash some picked-over Irish moss in hot water. Place in a pan or bowl and cover with the juice of three lemons. After several hours the moss will have dissolved, hardening everything into a yellow jelly. Place this in the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours.
Arrange a few lettuce leaves on four chilled salad plates. Cut the moss mixture into cubes and place them in the center of the lettuce. Cut the apples into cubes and mix these with finely diced celery and mayonnaise. Distribute apple mixture among the four salads and top with walnuts.
Seaweed soup stock
Use a regular bread recipe. Grind or powder dried seaweed into a flour and substitute this seaweed flour for half the amount of flour called for by the recipe. Follow the recipe with these changes: Substitute water for milk; add an extra tablespoon of butter; and omit salt. Experiment with different seasonings.
Recipes reprinted from: The Uncommon Cookbook, Maine Sea Grant Program.