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Seaweed: Beyond Sushi and Salad

I grew up eating seaweed in soups and as snacks but rarely did I treat it as a “sea vegetable.” Last week, I had the unique opportunity to produce an event at the De Gustibus cooking school about seaweed, or gim (Korean dried seaweed). The panelists – the charismatic chef/owner of Miya’s Sushi, Bun Lai; FreshDirect’s corporate nutritionist, Maggie Moon, joined by world renowned experts from UConn, Dr. Charles Yarish and Dr. Jang Kyun Kim, enlightened a group of chefs, academia and food writers about the merits of seaweed.

Sushi: Beyond Sushi and Salad

Truly on the cusp of popularity in the United States, we saw that seaweed is not only an excellent and inexpensive source of nutrients, sustainable (it can grow several feet in a day!), but also helps in reversing the degradation of marine environment caused by coastal fish farming.  Myself, I’ve always known seaweed to be a good source of iodine, but never realized the amount of vitamins and proteins it contains. Even our moderator, Andrea Beaman, proclaimed a seaweed diet cured her goiter.

Among the culinary trendsetters attending the session were Hugue Dufour & Sarah Obraitis of M. Wells (and upcoming Dinette at PS1), and seafood enthusiasts, Kerry Heffernan of Southgate, Toni Robertson of Mandarin Oriental, Joe DiStefano of World’s Fare, Jamie Tiampo of Seefood Media and Kian Lam Kho of Redcook.net.

Sushi: Beyond Sushi and Salad

The host of the event, Korea Agro-Trade New York, announced their collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America on developing a recipe book using gim as an everyday ingredient – which will be published later this year. Chef Phillip Crispo, from the CIA, even provided us with a demo and tasting of delightful seaweed dishes. Ht truly took gim to a different direction – using it creatively in stuffed pork loin, spanokopita and tortellini. It made sense, since seaweed is a sea vegetable, which can easily substitute other ingredients such as spinach! My favorites were, surprisingly, the gim popcorn, gim ice cream and my goodness, the gim brittle in my goodie bag. I could not get enough of that!

And now, I leave you with one of the dishes served at the tasting, simple enough to make for yourself at home.

seaweed popcorn

Gim-Dressed Popcorn
Courtesy of Fabulous and Flavorful Gim: A Collection of Korean Seaweed Recipes developed by Faculty Chefs from the Culinary Institute of America

Serves 6

Ingredients:

5 sheets gim (Korean dried seaweed)
4 oz / 113 g butter
2 Tbsp / 30 ml canola oil
2.8 oz / 79 g unpopped corn kernels

1. Place the gim in a spice grinder and grind until it is finely ground.

2. Place the ground gim and the butter in a small bowl or pot and melt, either in a microwave for 30 to 45 seconds or on the stovetop over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed sautoir over medium-high heat. Add the corn kernels and cover the pan with a lid. Gently shake the pan on the burner for the duration of the cooking time and listening for popping kernels to cease popping. Once the kernels stop popping, after 4 to 5 minutes, remove the foil and transfer the popcorn to a large mixing bowl.

4. Combine the gim butter with the popcorn and cover the bowl tightly with foil. Shake the bowl well to evenly coat the popcorn with the butter. Remove the foil, and serve.

This post was guest-written by Wendy Chan.

2 Responses to Seaweed: Beyond Sushi and Salad

  1. Marge Perry says:

    This sounds like a really interesting event. I recently wrote a piece for Eating Well magazine on dishes that help you move towards more meatless meals, and learned that one key to making fare satisfying for carnivores is using ingredients high in umami quality. Seaweed is one of the most intensely umami non-animal ingredients we came across, and it really does increase the savoriness of plant-based meals.

    • Veronica says:

      I didn’t know that about umami, but it makes a lot of sense. I’d be happy to share a copy of the CIA seaweed recipe book if my mom has extra copies – let me know!

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