Sugar Kelp (saccharina latissima)
Kelp can be cooked as a vegetable, its mild taste readily absorbing the flavor of sauces and condiments, and it pairs well with a wide variety of other veggies. Ideal cooking time is about 15-25 minutes depending on desired tenderness, and the fronds can be simmered whole in boiling water, rehydrated and cut with a knife before cooking, or cut dry with a sharp pair of scissors beforehand. A small handful of thinly cut dry strips added to rice as it comes to a boil improves flavor and adds a colorful garnish.
Kelp makes an excellent addition to soup stocks, and its naturally occurring glutamates enhance the flavor of other foods with which it is prepared. Use a 4-6 inch strip per quart of water. It can also be crisped in an oven on low heat, and broken up by hand or processed in an electric coffee grinder to be used as a salt substitute and seasoning.
Kelp is also commonly added to bean dishes when cooking. Adding a 4-6 inch strip for every 2 cups of beans will improve their digestibility, decrease cooking time, thicken the texture, and enrich the overall flavor of the finished dish. Kelp is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, iodine, trace minerals and vitamin A.
All seaweeds are inspected before packaging for shells and shell fragments, but please keep an eye out for any that may still be attached.
2 oz Kelp
2 Garlic cloves
Butter or olive oil
Lemon Juice (optional)
Simmer the whole kelp in a covered pot of water for 20-25 minutes until tender. Once it has cooled it can be cut into long thin ribbons. The fastest way to do this is to stack the pieces on top of each other and fold them up into a bundle so that your knife cuts the entire length of the frond with each stroke. Using this technique the kelp can be cut into delicate strands for a salad or garnish, or thick fettucine style noodles. Toss the results with lightly sautéed garlic and butter, pesto, caramelized onions, sesame oil and soy sauce, etc.