Not only is seaweed ultra-healthy, it’s beloved by landlocked mermaids who want that hint of sea in everything they do—and eat. Sea-dwelling sirens can’t get enough of the stuff—how do you think they maintain those lustrous locks and that luminous skin?—but a dash of seaweed in a lovely risotto or a fresh salad might be all a would-be mermaid needs to keep herself focused on her earthly life … even when all she dreams about is the world underwater.
SEAWEED SALAD WITH AVOCADO AND EDAMAME– servers four
This seaweed salad is easy, light, and makes a delicate, mermaid-friendly lunch or starter. Serve with white wine if you’re feeling especially fancy.
For the salad:
2 oz. dried wakame
2 English cucumbers
2 small carrots
2 or 3 radishes
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup cooked edamame 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
For the dressing:
¼ cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. grated ginger
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. chili pepper flakes
black pepper to taste
Soak seaweed in warm water for about five minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Cut seaweed into half-inch-wide strips and place them in a large bowl.
Cut both carrots and cucumbers julienne style, slice radishes very thin, and add them to the bowl.
For the dressing, stir together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, ginger, lime juice, chili flakes, and black pepper until everything is combined. Pour it into the bowl with the seaweed-and-vegetable mix, and toss to combine. Add sliced avocado and edamame and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
SEAWEED CHIPS – serves four
These delicious chips are like junk food for mermaids! If you want more spice, mix some wasabi in with the liquid aminos or add some red pepper flakes.
10 nori sheets
3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1½ tbsp. liquid aminos
¼ cup sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix liquid aminos and sesame oil together in a small bowl.
Cut all sheets of nori in half, then in half again, and again until you have eight pieces per sheet.
Place them on two baking trays, as close as possible but without overlapping.
Lightly brush them with the oil mix and generously sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for seven minutes, turn them on the other side with a thong, and bake for another four to five minutes. Let them cool and then store in an airtight container.
MUSHROOM SEAWEED RISOTTO – serves four
This is a traditional Italian risotto with a seamaidenly, seaweedy twist. Add as much crumbled nori as you like to get that hint of oceanic flavor.
6 cups vegetable stock
2 nori sheets
¼ cup dried porcini
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves
1 small shallot
¾ lb. cremini mushrooms
1½ cups arborio rice
½ cup dried white wine
1 tbsp. butter
1½ tbsp. sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
Soak dried porcini in one cup of warm water for about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid and squeezing off excess water. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and a garlic clove, sliced, in a large pan, add porcini, and cook over medium heat for two to three minutes, adding a little of their water if needed. Add cremini mushrooms, sliced, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes until they are tender. Turn off heat and cover pan with lid to keep mushrooms warm.
Add one nori sheet and the remaining porcini water to the vegetable stock, bring to simmer, and keep the mixture on a very low heat while making risotto.
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add a garlic clove and minced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, for about five minutes. Add the rice and stir it for two minutes until it turns opaque. Add wine and cook, stirring until all the liquid has absorbed. Add about ½ cup of the simmering broth and cook, stirring frequently until absorbed. The rice and broth should bubble gently; keep cooking the rice, adding ½ cup of broth at a time and allowing the rice to absorb it before adding more.
Cook the rice this way until tender, about 20 minutes total, or follow the cooking time on the package. You may not need to use all the stock, or you may need more stock or some hot water.
Three to four minutes before rice is ready, add the reserved mushrooms to the pan and keep cooking the same way.
When rice is cooked, turn off heat, add butter, and stir until melted. Let the risotto rest for two minutes, then serve with crumbled nori sheets and sesame seeds on top.