December 21, 2014
Gifts from the Sea
We're getting close to Christmas, and I've been wandering the aisles of local shops, looking for plausible presents. That's when I saw the seaweed.
Kombu comes in dried ribbons that unfurl into long sheets that are at least as tall as I am. It's wonderful stuff.
A small piece steeped in simmering soup for fifteen minutes adds an extra layer of depth that's delicous – very hard to place. Kombu also does wonderful stuff to braises and stews: reconstitute a wide piece, drape it on the surface of a slowly cooking stew and notice how it locks in flavor. It makes wonderful seaweed salad. And there’s nothing better than homemade dashi.
You'll find seaweed in the Asian aisle of your supermarket. If you have access to a Japanese store, I recently discovered that Sunrise Mart, in New York, sells my favorite seaweed, mozuku, already marinated. It makes the seaweed salad now sold in every sushi aisle seem silly.
Think of it as a fashion-forward present; we don't eat a whole lot of seaweed now. But it's definitely in our future.
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