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Seaweed's not just for sushi—here's why.
You bought a bag of nori—maybe some rice, cucumber, avocado, carrots, and sushi-grade fish. There may or may not be a bamboo mat in your cart, too. You're making sushi (go you!). After a few rolls are made, sliced, and the spiral-y insides revealed, the nori's tucked away in the cabinet. Maybe you'll be making sushi again sometime soon, maybe not. But the nori sits there. The nori is sad. It feels a bit dejected. That's not okay.
Seaweed is what holds sushi together, what's sometimes found swimming in miso soup, and the main ingredient of the salad nestled alongside that spicy salmon roll. It's umami and it's one of the best darn "weeds" we've ever tasted.
But if you've only had seaweed in Asian-style preparations, you're missing out. That briny flavor can do a lot more than many give it credit for. You'll sea. Here are a few ideas for using seaweed (in many of its iterations).
- Seaweed Tartare: Spread it onto a baguette or use it as a dressing for potato salad.
- At NYC's Mission Cantina, crab tostadas are topped with cucumbers and seaweed.
- Toast and grind a sheet of nori into powder in a spice grinder and fold a tablespoon or so into some crème fraîche. Use it to top soup or spread it on toast and top with avocado slices.
- Take some of that ground seaweed powder and mix it with room temperature butter, lemon juice and zest, salt, and black pepper. Use it for buttery things, like topping baked oysters.
- Try this brown bread from the New York Times made with buckwheat and hydrated, slivered kombu.
- Make seaweed chips! Or, better yet, brush sheets of nori with barbecue sauce for barbecue seaweed chips. Bake them like you would kale chips and break into chip-sized pieces.
- We have two words for you: sushi burrito. Take a sheet of nori, sushi rice, and whatever fillings your heart desires. Roll and eat it like a burrito. You could also (and should) make this wrap.
- Shred nori and mix into an egg salad. Add some miso and a touch of soy sauce for extra umami.
- Make Vegan Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons using dulse (kelp) granules and cashews in the dressing.
- Take a cue from Heidi Swanson's new cookbook, Near & Far, and make granola with crumbled sheets of nori, shichimi togarashi, cashews, and sesame seeds.
- Toast a sheet of seaweed, crumble it, and add it to nut mix.
Have a favorite way to use seaweed? Tell us in the comments below!
Photos by Mark Weinberg, Francoise Nicol, and James Ransom