In the past week, I have: purchased and enjoyed a packet of something called Roasted Seaweed Snack, seen a giant pack of seaweed at Costco, and heard a story about the various culinary uses for seaweed on the public radio show The Splendid Table.
As much as you might think "eating seaweed? Like, that tickly, slimy stuff that gets you grossed out when it touches you at the beach? No thank you" it's actually very common in many Asian cuisines, especially Japanese. As a matter of fact, if you have had sushi you've enjoyed the earthy, savory taste of toasted nori, which is used to wrap sushi rolls.
Most seaweed salads are made with dried seaweed, which you can find at Asian markets and places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's...some big supermarkets might also have them. Just rehydrate the sheets, chop them and add a dressing....try rice wine vinegar and sesame oil with some grated ginger.
If salads aren't your thing, try the roasted seaweed snacks that are popping up more and more places. They are low-calorie, generally pretty inexpensive, and addictive once you get used to them. The slightly chewy texture is weird at first...let them melt in your mouth a little. I think they have a meaty "umami" taste that is very satisfying.
Beyond taste, seaweed pretty much can't be beat in the amount of nurtrition per calorie. Different seaweeds have different nutritional profiles, but all of them are chock full of the good stuff like potassium, calcium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. It's definitely worth giving these nutritional powerhouses a try!
Have you tried seaweed?
Image ©IStockPhoto/Jeannette Lambert