There are some people who just aren’t going to be swayed by seaweed. It may be chock full of minerals – especially iodine and (compared with other plant-based foods) calcium – and useable in everything from sushi to salad to baked goods. But the pro-sea-vegetable arguments sometimes fall flat when people are presented with a bowlful of this:
Even if we pretty it up a little for photos…
…it does, frankly, look like something you’d take pains to avoid lest it spoil a beach stroll by goo-ily (sure, that’s a word) grabbing hold of your foot.
So even thought I like the stuff enough to eat it in sheets, plain, as a snack, I thought I’d use this month’s “Sea What You’ve Been Missing” Recipe ReDux to try my hand at (cue James Bond music) Secret Seaweed. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to hide this nutritious ugly duckling inside some tomato and clam soup.
When the Reduxers were charged with creating recipes that celebrate the more-obscure culinary treasures from the deep (little fished like sardines, or sea vegetables like seaweed), I knew I wanted to use seaweed. I have zero sushi-rolling skills, but figured seaweed soup was in my wheelhouse. Many traditional Korean seaweed soup recipes feature beef, which I don’t eat, but why not swap in clams? And while we’re at it, why not pretend the seaweed is like the spinach I use in a pasta with clams, tomatoes and spinach recipe, and base a soup on those flavors?
The result: an Italian-style seaweed soup (seriously, that’s a thing) that could easily be passed off as one of its “kale and beans and tomato” brethren. I even sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese (not kidding; cheese on seaweed) and it tasted great. So if someone at your dinner table is giving you a face full of seaweed skepticism, see if you can sneak it past the guards in this recipe.
Seaweed, tomato and clam soup (text file here)
4 servings, approx. 125 calories each
½ tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ red onion, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
15 oz (1 ½ cups) diced tomatoes
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 6-oz can of clams
½ ounce dry nori seaweed
Soak the nori in water for a few minutes, then drain it and slice it into inch-wide strips.
Heat the olive oil over medium-heat heat in a nonstick pan. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 minutes then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and just starting to brown on the edges.
Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and juice from the clams to the pan, and remove it from heat. Allow it to cool slightly, then add the pan’s contents to a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes. Puree until smooth.
Pour the blender’s contents back into the pan or into a stock pot. Add the clams and nori, and bring the soup nearly to a boil. Remove from heat, divide among four bowls and enjoy.
My fellow Recipe Reduxers have also been busy working with the lesser-known bounties of the sea; you can find links below to their contributions for this month: