Dulse Seaweed Butter: A Chef's Secret Weapon
The New York Times discovers edible seaweed
In The New York Times today, Sam Sifton is amazed by the flavour enhancing properties of seaweed combined with fish.
Sifton ordered a portion of steamed bluefish at chef Ned Baldwin's Manhattan restaurant, Houseman, and anticipated that it wouldn't be "a promising order." But he was blown away by what he received: "briny, buttery-rich, silky-salty, with a powerful roundness."
What was the chef's secret? Dulse butter.
Seaweed and seafood make for marine alchemy
Afterwards, Sifton went home to discover the exceptional flavour enhancing properties of Mara's Dulse seaweed flakes, having been gifted some by our "SeaEO" Fiona Houston when they met in 2017.
"I started cooking with dulse all the time. Particularly now, when the farm stands near my home are bleak and largely empty, I use dulse (and butter too) to impart big flavor to my cooking."
Sifton whipped up a chowder, with clams, fish and root veg. He tried the same trick, combining seafood and seaweed, but it was dulse butter that elevated the dish to the next level.
"Using a dulse butter at the base of the soup, for the fat in which I sauté the vegetables before deglazing them, makes each individual flavor in the resulting chowder pop, distinctly and with bright effect."
Seaweed: an open secret to flavour enhancement
Sifton thinks such magical ingredients should be kept under wraps.
"I think there is no reason to explain to anyone ... how the powdered seaweed acts as a flavor enhancer, how it contains a natural version of monosodium glutamate, how it’s harvested off rocks at the bottom of the tide: dulse, Palmaria palmata, bounty of the sea."
But we love to shout about it!
Understanding umami, the glutamate taste in seaweed, means a whole new depth to your dishes. It's why so many top chefs love seaweed, including Jamie, Nigella, Heston and Nigel Slater, as well as Mara fans Brett Graham, Michael Smith and Cyrus Todiwalla.
Where to buy seaweed butter
Sifton is not the only chef to explore dulse butter in 2018. Just last month, Nigel Slater shared a recipe in the Guardian. With fat back on menus, and seaweed a trend that's here to stay, expect to see it crop up more and more, both at home and in commercial kitchens.
If you're looking for wholesale seaweed or a seaweed butter supplier, look no further. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to help.
Image credit: Gentl and Hyers for The New York Times.