Seaweed Salad

During the summer season salads are the king of picnics and parties, most often when I think of American summer salads, I think of the salads that are mayo based, (delicious) calorie rich (Mmm…), mounds of starch and fat. There’s a wealth of fresh produce right now, and although I have the best veg I’ll get all year, seaweed salad is on my mind. Seaweed is the money maker in the nutrient world, it aids digestion, boosts immunity, and its even said to reduce fat. Its a slightly fishy and funky tasting food, (I happen to love funk) but remember that its about as healthful as it gets so why not give it a try?  I had this type of salad first when I ordered it from the local take-out Japanese/Chinese shop and have since even noticed that it’s even popped up at deli counters. Seeing that I very rarely eat out, and it usually costs about $7 for a 1/2 cup serving, I decided to make it my own personal mission to make it at home. 

Seaweed salad is made primarily from re-hydrated seaweed, sesame seeds and sesame oil. I used wakame seaweed however I do not think that’s what the restaurants use. The salads I’ve had are always a seaweed that is thin, chewy and mighty-bright green, its a much milder flavor as well. I’ve read about Arame seaweed and even frozen seaweed available in other countries, … I have no idea where to go about finding it here. So even though it took me a few months to find this Wakame seaweed, it was worth the wait. This is a bolder tasting variation, alone it’s quite fishy and nutty in flavor. When paired with sushi rice, shaved cucumber, maybe even some raw or poached fish, it becomes a wonderful sushi bowl, that’s a healthy and light meal. Good for your soul, great for your heart and even better yet, its homemade and good, great to your wallet. (the 2 ounce pouch cost me $3, the sesame seeds and sesame oil were about $10 total but will last quite a while.)

Seaweed Salad Recipe: (With Wakame Seaweed)

1 ounce, dried wakame seaweed
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 Green Onions, cut into thin strips

2-3 tablespoons light soy sauce (see note)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Place seaweed in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 5-6 minutes until it has re-hydrated. Cut the greens of the green onions into very thin strips and place in a bowl with ice water. (Instead of discarding the white of the onion I diced it up and mixed it with the dressing.) Allow the green onions to rest 5 minutes, this is what makes it curl, it also helps them stay crisp.
For the dressing combine dressing ingredients. Once the seaweed has re-hydrated and the onions have curled drain them both thoroughly. Toss seaweed with dressing and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with the green onion curls on top, or mix them with the salad. 
Note: Dehydrated seaweed is salty, although I love tamari, you do not want to use full sodium soy sauce with this recipe because it will be overwhelmingly salty. 
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