The Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans have been eating it for thousands of years, and you’ll find seaweed in traditional dishes from across the world.
Now, it’s one of the key foodstuffs being produced in Andalusia.
Unrefined, natural Atlantic salt is being used to preserve Ognori, Aonori, and Sea Lettuce to create a store cupboard essential which is ideal for livening up salads, flavouring soups and stews, and being added to seafood paellas.
The result of the salt curing is a product which is crunchy to bite and has the intense flavour of the ocean.
Here are some of the seaweed types being produced in Vejer de la Frontera, a town which is a few miles from the Atlantic coast near Barbate…
Ognori– This is made from a red algae with a distinctive flavour and is often used as the ‘nori’ wrapping sushi rolls in Japanese food.
Aonori– This is green laver, which is often dried and powdered for soups and tempura in Japanese cooking. In Korea, it is used to make gim, which are dried sheets for use in cookery, and as a salad vegetable.
Sea Lettuce– This algae resembles a lettuce leaf and is a shallow water seaweed. It can be found floating in clumps on the water.
Why is seaweed a nutritious and tasty food?
- It is low in calories and fat but helps you to feel full.
- It has a lot of soluble fibre, which helps control blood sugar and keeps your digestive system moving.
- It is full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E, C, K, and B vitamins. It is also rich in iodine, calcium, iron, and selenium.
- It contains the building blocks of the body, amino acids – an important protein.
How other countries use seaweed in their dishes
- Indonesia and Malaysia – as part of their traditional salads.
- Wales – laver bread is often fried in bacon fat and eaten to accompany local cockles.
- South America – a key ingredient in the diet of indigenous peoples. The Lafkenche people in Chile eat kelp while in Peru, the fusion of Peruvian and Chinese dishes, Chifa, uses algaes.
- New Zealand – the Maori people eat karengo, a red seaweed, drying it and adding it to their cooking.
How can you get some Andalusian seaweed power in your salads?
You could make a salad of sea vegetables using the seaweed strips, in a sauce of miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, and red chilli. Add a teaspoon of honey if you prefer a sweeter taste.
Add seaweed strips to seafood salads instead of salt.
Or, you could get a true taste of Andalusia by adding the seaweed to a carrot salad.
These carrot salads come from the time of the Moorish invasion.
Peel and slice 500g of carrots into thin strips and cover in hot water.
Soften for five minutes, then drain and cool. Toast some cumin seeds then grind them in a mortar with two cloves of garlic and olive oil.
Mix your seaweed strips with your carrots and pour over sherry vinegar from Fernando de Castilla, the mixture from the mortar, and sesame seeds.