Tasting Day Part 1: The Food
We had a Seaweed Tasting Day last Saturday! It was a sort of seaweed potluck, where all six of us gathered at my apartment in Oakland, with each person bringing some home-made seaweed delicacies to share. It was a great way to continue exploring the deliciousness, nutritiousness, and umami-ful-ness of seaweed! I mean, just look at the beautiful tasting platter that Eamon arranged for himself:
Going clockwise from the top, we have: a tuft of plain laver seaweed, roasted bladderwrack with Old Bay seasoning, hoisin-garlic kelp jerky, kombu rice crackers, agave-sesame kombu chips, and some bread with a creamy “laver pesto”. In the center is a slice of bread with laverbread spread. Looks pretty good, right?
But there was so much more. Let’s go over some highlights of this beach-to-table extravaganza:
- Daniel’s kelp jerky was incredibly tasty. Great flavor from being marinated in a hoisin garlic sauce for a couple of days, and most importantly it had that perfect jerky texture — chewy without being tough. Just look at that beautiful piece of kelp jerky, artfully positioned next to some raw laver (Eamon photo credit).
- Reuben’s sea lettuce salad with home-made teriyaki sauce was really light and refreshing, with vibrant flavor. If I got this salad at a sushi restaurant, I’d be happy.
- Reuben’s kelp fettuccine was really impressive, both the process and the final result. On the left, we have Reuben somehow making the pasta in a really cramped space, with Eamon lending a hand. And on the right is a lovely plate of noodles, a little green from the laver powder in the dough, alongside some steamed mussels. Good stuff! Unfortunately we don’t have a photo of the fettuccine mixed with (a much greener version of) my laver pesto, but the laver pasta with laver pesto made quite the tasty combo!
- My seaweed burgers turned out very good! I used a mixture of laverbread, leeks, oats, breadcrumbs, and several spices and condiments. The consistency was a little squishy and not quite burger-like — but the flavor was delicious!
- I made a whole smorgasbord of dried seaweed snacks, but these maple pistachio kelp crisps were easily my most successful creation. They were made with kombu coated in maple syrup and crushed pistachios. They crisped up nicely in the oven, and turned out really great — even my wife, who is not a seaweed fan, liked them! Pretty sure I could snack on a whole bag of these.
- This final highlight spot should really go to Casey’s kelp+kale smoothie (working two superfoods into a single dish, nicely done!). Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of the smoothie, so I’ll have to go with my kombu rice crackers with a soy honey glaze. They were okay (not great)…But I made quite a few of them, and they were gone by the end of the day! So I guess maybe there was just something snackable about them.
Honorable mention goes to my Old Bay roasted bladderwrack chips, the black squiggly things in Eamon’s lovely tasting platter. They have this strong iodine-y flavor that Vijay and I were really into, but probably isn’t for everyone… But I actually made this batch over a month ago, and they were still as crispy and fresh as ever, which is impressive! And they are a perfect beer snack—salty, spicy and savory.
And speaking of beer…One of the featured items at Tasting Day was actually seaweed beer! Lots and lots of seaweed beer—several different types, in fact! But I’m going to save that for our next blog post.