One of the more interesting items available at our farmers’ market these days is seaweed harvested from Maine. Before I even knew what I’d do with it, I had decided to pick some up, and I did just that a couple of Saturdays ago. The variety I chose is called dulse, which is, apparently, the “gateway” variety – mild and easy to work with, with a flavor that complements a variety of other ingredients. I’m told that some people in New England eat it like potato chips, popping crispy bits directly into their mouths as a snack, and after Mike and I tried it, I can see why: there’s something really familiar and satisfying about the taste and texture of it.

Deciding how to use it was a bit difficult for me. We had been told it could be sautéed with leafy greens like kale or spinach, or used in a soup or stir-fry, but I was a bit concerned about over-cooking it, rendering its unique character lost in the dish, so in the end I decided I would barely cook it at all, instead snipping it with kitchen shears and folding it into a mix of hot cooked rice and vegetables.

Our rice bowls were built on a base of organic wild and Wehani rices, cooked in the leftover porcini soaking liquid from Monday’s dinner until they were just tender, and then tossed with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil to lightly coat the grains. I added a mix of barely sautéed vegetables next: some sliced shiitake caps, grated carrot, thin slices of spring onion, and a handful of watercress. I tossed a good cup or so of chopped dulse in off the heat, stirring it through before spooning the mixture into our bowls, then I topped each serving with a sunny-side up egg, a sprinkle of salt, and some snipped scallion tops.

Dinner: March 3, 2009

The combination was really delicious, with the earthy rices and mushrooms providing a nice canvas for the little bursts of onion, sweet carrot, and the slightly salty and almost bacon-y dulse to shine against. The egg, when chopped up and stirred through, gave it all a nice creaminess. This first foray into cooking with seaweed was a big success, and I’m really eager to try new ways of incorporating it into our meals.

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