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The vegetables of the sea

June 25, 2012

Last night we were lucky enough to have the Louise from Pacific Harvest come and teach us all about the vegetables of the sea – Seaweeds.

Now I know, because I did it at first too that the word ‘Seaweed’ doesn’t quite conjure up any delicious inspired adjectives but after last night I want to put seaweed in EVERYTHING!

Seaweeds are vegetables from the sea and their variety far surpasses that of the land variety.

  • Their concentration in usable nutrients is much higher (up to 20 times). They also contain trace elements that are no longer in the soils.
  • On the culinary side they open up a whole world of taste, and it is just a matter of learning more about what they are best used for, just like land vegetables. You can mash a potato, but you know not to slice it up raw in a salad.

Louise showed us through her range and we tasted them in salad form, in the picture above which was sea spaghetti with kale, ginger and a light rice wine dressing. Sea Spaghetti is a Brown Algae. It is a great source of iodine, iron, calcium and magnesium. It is also rich in phosphorous which is said to help all intellectual abilities, memory, focus and agility.

The second sea vegetable dish on the menu was a Cream of Fennel Soup with a Karengo Garnish. Karengo is a Red Seaweed, that has a similar taste to the sushi wraps. It is harvested in the winter from the Kaikoura Coast. It has a high percentage of vegetarian protein and dietary fiber.
The recipe for this soup is below. The garnish would be a great topping on a piece of fresh fish, or even on top of a pasta.

Wakame is a brown seaweed. Most people will probably know it from Miso soup. Brown seaweeds have particular compounds that are important for the prevention and treatment of degenerative diseases.

Louise used Wakame in the second soup – a Wakame Soup with Orzo and Sundried Tomato and Olive Tapenade. The tapenade also had a few tablespoons of Karengo.

Cream of Fennel with Karengo Garnish

1T fennel seeds, lightly roasted
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g butter
2 sticks celery, chopped fine
1 leek, trimmed and chopped finely
1/2t Garlic Kelp
1.2litres light chicken or vegetable stock
150ml double cream

Garnish –
1T olive oil
1/3 C breadcrumbs
3T Karengo fronds, chopped fine
2T chopped italian parsley
1t lemon zest

For the garnish, heat oil in a small pan on a medium heat and toss in the remaining ingredients to combine well. Stir until crunchy. Set aside.

For the soup, gently toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes until fragrant. Crush.

In a heavy saucepan sweat the onions and garlic in the butter with the crushed seeds for 5 minutes and then add the celery, leek and fennel. Cover and cook for 10-15minutes on a low heat. Add the stock, bring to a boil and cook a further 10 minutes. Pour into a blender, or use a stick blender to puree until smooth.

Stir in the cream and season. Serve in individual bowls and sprinkle with the garnish.

Enjoy.

Head to Pacific Harvest’s new blog for more seaweed recipes and more information about the products. www.seaweedrecipes.co.nz

From the seaweed loving team at Urban Harvest.

 

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