By Flavor & The Menu Contributors
January 13, 2021
Seaweed can be used as a garnish or a main ingredient, providing great taste, color and texture. The flavor delivers an umami punch, while adding a savory building block to a menu item.
Could this be the last frontier of food? Seaweed has been gaining momentum over the last few years as chefs discover the amazing diversity underwater and supplies of interesting varieties follow suit. Aside from basic curiosity of new ingredients, this comes from sustainability objectives. It is possible to produce vast amounts of seaweed without negatively impacting the environment.
Growers are setting up responsible oceanic farms to bring seaweed to the table. Along with an environmental halo, seaweed has a great texture and mild flavor. These attributes make it adaptable to all dayparts and cuisines. While at Yale, I created a pop-up station called Kelp Yourself and served a Kelp Omelette with lightly sautéed julienned kelp, finished with gremolata. The delicate flavor of kelp harvested only 5 miles from campus added to the appeal.
The quest for umami and sustainable, functional ingredients is driving interest in seaweed. This gives chefs an opportunity to tell a story about how their operations are embracing sustainability, flavor exploration and wellness.