You already know when you add bacon to anything your recipe will go down in history!
But — What would you say if I told you there is another bacon-like ingredient that is actually health, and more nutrious than kale?
And this superfood is a kissing-cousin of the seaweed found right in our own backyard in Abalone Bay!
That’s right- it’s Bacon of the Sea!
Bacon Flavored Seaweed Healthier than Kale
It’s the food favorite of our other food favorite found right here at Abalone Bay– ABALONE!
This superfood is the red lettuce-like seaweed that grows along the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines called dulse (Palmaria palmata). It is the diet of dulse (rhymes with pulse) that gives the abalone its delicate, smoky, and buttery umami flavor.
It is also the reason that harvesting abalone or even finding it commercially is such a challenge. Dulse is incredibly difficult to harvest, making abalone nearly impossible to scale in any meaningful way. Dulse is usually sold for up to $90 a pound in dried form as a cooking ingredient or nutritional supplement. When you purchase it locally through Mendocino Sea Vegetables a 1 oz bag costs $6.
But now, after a 15 year study, a team of researchers from at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center have patented a new strain of this succulent red marine algae. It not only grows exceedingly fast and easy, it’s also as nutritious as kale, is packed full of proteins, AND tastes like bacon when it is cooked!
What can beat that- bacon flavored seaweed!
And better yet…Its’s even better than the abalone it was intended to feed.
“The original goal was to create a super-food for abalone, because high-quality abalone is treasured, especially in Asia,”Chris Langdon, one of the researchers pointed out. “We were able to grow dulse-fed abalone at rates that exceeded those previously reported in the literature. There always has been an interest in growing dulse for human consumption, but we originally focused on using dulse as a food for abalone.”
This technology has been recognized as a specialty crop by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now this seaweed, first harvested by Irish monks nearly 1400 ago, has been applied on a commercial scale by the Big Island Abalone Corporation in Hawaii. This OSU’s discovery also creates the potential for a new industry for Oregon.
Bacon Flavored Seaweed Recipes
Traditionally you’ll find recipes such as our local Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company‘s…
H-1 cup flaked roasted nori
2 t roasted sesame oil
8 cups cooked rice, cooled
1 t grated or crushed ginger
3 T diced raw onions (green onion preferably)
1 T sesame seeds (optional)
1 T honey
1 t rice wine or vinegar
4 T soy sauce (or to taste)
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
parsley and/or cilantro
diced red and green bell peppers, and/or grated zucchini
Combine the above ingredients, adding roasted nori and parsley last, reserving 1/8 cup nori and 1/4 cup parsley and/or cilantro for garnish. Adjust ingredients to taste until it is perfect! Serving sushi salad on a bed of lettuce, garnished with slices of red and green bell peppers, makes this a work of art. (Serves 8)
Coming Soon to the Food Market Near You
Today, however, recipes have moved far beyond sushi. Seaweeds are used as ingredients in many foods, from ice cream to salad dressing. In fact, San Francisco’s Fancy Food Show prominently featured in chips, crackers, and salads.
Jason Ball, a research chef at the University of Copenhagen’s Nordic Food Lab, is working with Langdon to create more fanciful recipes. Given the new strain’s consistency in quality, year round availability, and low impact on fragile intertidal habitats when harvested, it is easier to develop new culinary uses.
Of his more outrageous recipes he’s created trail mix, rice crackers (Ball says, “it’s like a vegetarianchicharrón“), salad dressing, sesame seed chips, and smoked dulse popcorn peanut brittle. In the future look for recipes for dulse veggie burgers and even dulse beer. By mid-fall Ball hopes to have his dulse salad dressing on shelves at a Portland food retailer
Why Bacon Flavored Seaweed Will Keep You Healthy
According to Meghan Telpner, we all need to eat more sea vegetables:
- They are one of the top alkalinizing foods- as a result, they help alkalinize you which in turn boosts immune function, resolves issues of yeast and other bacteria issues, help prevent cancer.
- They are super rich in iodine which is vital for your thyroid health which in turn manages your hormone balance, energy levels, tissue healing and skin health, and metabolic rate.
- They are, for the most part, chlorophyll powered meaning super rich in the green power that gives us energy, makes us glow with beauty and detoxes our cells.
Using Dulce at Home
As we mentioned, this superfood is great. Dulse’s nutritional value won’t degrade when converted into powder or flakes.
A word of warning however, be careful though of dulse’s delicate and fragile in texture. It becomes mushy when cooked. Here is a list of the many ways in which you can use it:
- Enjoy chewing dried dulse as a very salty snack- some even love it straight from the bag
- Use it to accent the flavor of potatoes-of any kind or style,
- Cook in scrambled eggs and omelettes (like bacon)
- Try it in vegetables, rice dishes, casseroles, and chowders.
- Sprinkle it on salads, pizza (like anchovies)
- Add it to your popcorn as you settle in to watch a movie
- Pan-fry dried whole-leaf dulse with oil over medium-high heat until crisp, then slap your bacon flavored seaweed between two slices of bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise and proceed to chow down on your now health DLT
- Snip dried dulse into tiny pieces as a condiment to season anything
- Steamed for a moment
- Update your baked beans by replacing the pork with 1/2 c. dulse and 1/2 c. of olive oil
- Even give it a whirl on your fried or steamed abalone!
Is the taste too salty for you? Then we recommend you soak it . As it softens gradually it will become less salty. Now you can add this more subtle version to salads and sandwiches.
And for the very brave add a small scoop of dulse powder to smoothies for a creamy seaweed shake.
Dulse in Gluten Free Cooking
And for our Gluten Free fans and friends, here’s a recipe just for you from Megan Telpnar!
Sunflower Dulse Bread
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
Yield: Serves 2-4
- 2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked
- 1 cup flaxseeds, soaked
- 1 cup carrots, sliced (about 2 medium sized carrots)
- ⅓ cup dulse
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup dried parsley
- ¼ cup dried basil
- 1½ tsp sea salt
- Add all ingredients to high powered blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Add water as needed if too sticky.
- Spread evenly over non-stick dehydrator sheets. This recipe will likely cover 2 at ¼ inch thick or three if you want them thinner like crackers.
- Dehydrate for 3 hours at 115. Remove from dehydrator and flip onto mesh tray and dehydrate for another 4 hours or until dry and firm.
- Store in an airtight container.
Now Go Forth and Eat!
Which ever way you use dulse, you’ll be much healthier for it. Let us know your favorite dulse recipe and what you put on your slice of dulse bread in the comments below.
OH!! And did I mention it tastes like BACON?!