There’s no point denying it, you may have to get your head around eating seaweeds. In western cuisines they often get overlooked as ingredients, but we can almost guarantee you will have eaten them in some form or other - they are often used as thickening agents or flavourings in the more ‘instant’ food you get made in factories and may only have to add water to. Yum. Not to mention their use in sushi, where they are a vital part of the dish, both for structure and flavour.
Here at Forage Box, we absolutely love using native seaweeds in all our cooking. Nearly all seaweed you find on UK shores is edible, and they are all full of nutrients that are sometimes tricky to come by in other food. Aside from the many health benefits of eating seaweed, they are pretty much all delicious and have a range of flavours that can be used in so many savoury meals. Our example this month is Sea Lettuce, so called because of its apparent visual similarities to you standard garden lettuce. It can be eaten raw but is vastly improved having been dried out and used as a seasoning, where its umami flavour is intensified.
In our experience, Sea Lettuce loses some of its potency in cooking, so it is best used as a seasoning, like you would salt and pepper. We’ve had success sprinkling it liberally over poached eggs, stir fries, roast veg, creamy risottos, miso soup, sauteed mushrooms… the list goes on. Our absolute favourite combination so far has to be with Jerusalem Artichokes, where the nutty sweetness of the artichokes complimented the rich umami taste of the Sea Lettuce. If you can’t get hold of artichokes, try it with nutty vegetables like spring asparagus, celeriac or plain old cauliflower.