Seaweed Crisps

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For thousands of years people all over the world have benefited from the vegetables of the sea. In recent times knowledge was lost in parts of the world and its only in recent times in Western Europe that seaweed is being valued again as a source of vital minerals and vitamins. Of course the Bretons never forgot the value of their seaweed or gomon as they call it. To this day the gomoniers go out in their boats armed with a special rotating hook to collect it. The hook is called a skoubidou!!

The beauty of seaweed is that in most cases one can pick ones needs directly and quickly. All you need is a basic knowledge of seaweed, what areas are safe from pollution and the time of the tides!

I was on the Plage du Mle at St Malo on Christmas Day. It was low tide and one had almost the whole beach to oneself :

Plage du Mle St Malo Bretagne France

Laminaria digitata at low tide

I was looking for a very common kelp seaweed called laminaria digitata otherwise known in Ireland as leathrach, in England as oarweed and in Japan as kombu! It is usually attached to rocks exposed at low tide and you simply cut a little of each plant. It grows fast and furiously so dont feel guilty.

This seafood is high in glutamates and can act as a great flavor enhancer as well as being used commercially as a food alginate additive. My main interest however was simply to make some delicious seaweed crisps which according to some accounts taste of bacon!

This is so easy if you have access to a bbq but you could just as easily use an oven instead.

10 lengths of freshly collected oarweed


Wash the seaweed thoroughly rubbing by hand under cold water removing any sand and debris. Then drop the seaweed carefully into boiling water and let simmer in a large pan for one hour. Watch the seaweed change color from brown to green!

Remove the seaweed and let dry. I find leaving it to cool and refrigerate overnight improves the texture of the crisps.
Prepare the BBQ and if you can get access to some little pieces of turf this will greatly benefit the overall smokey taste. Place the seaweed across the bbq and leave until crispy and almost black. Dont forget to turn as required. The crisps should be ready in about 10 minutes.

Remove from the bbq and let rest. Keep in a dry place and use as a simple tasty crisp or as an addition to other dishes on your menu. They are great with oysters and scallops and yes they do inexplicably taste of smoked bacon!

Seaweed has a high iodine and mineral content so dont overly indulge. Always seek the advice of your doctor if you are pregnant or have a medical condition.

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