Algae & eggs, algae wrapped hotdogs, algae, lettuce & tomato sandwiches? Great ways to try the new “Bacon of the Deep”

 

Dulse, a type of red marine algae, will probably never really replace bacon but it may be an awesome alternative for Vegetarians, Vegans and the super health conscious. People, especially Asians have been eating seaweed since time immemorial. So while consuming saltwater veggies is nothing new, it took some “baconing up” to make it appealing to the American palate.

 

Originally cultivated as feed for edible sea-snails and abalone, researchers discovered that Dulse is a veritable “super-food” with twice the nutritional value of its land-locked cousin kale.  What some have dubbed “Gods Veggie” has a whole litany of benefits including some that go beyond mere nutrition.

 

Dulse is a Carbon Sink that helps soak up carbon compounds (like carbon dioxide) that contribute to global warming. It grows up to 5 times faster than dirt-based veggies and can be sustainably and profitably farmed outside of the marine environment with the use of special tanks.

 

Dulse inhibits fat cell growth and is a powerful antioxidant. It’s also an excellent source of iodine, (goodbye goiters) potassium, iron and magnesium plus vitamin C and A. More surprisingly, it’s an abundant source of protein (if Popeye only knew) with about 16 times the protein of spinach!

 

 That’s true world feeding potential in a humble wet weed!

 

So……how about the taste. The slugs and abalone never complained but most folks would probably compare it to eating salty, slightly less chewy cardboard. Thankfully, the culinary Gods gave us the miracle of frying. A brief encounter with a hot pan does something truly miraculous to Dulse. It changes the color from red to a greenish and transforms the taste from that of a briny shoe-box to something in the same umami universe as savory bacon. That said, it's a big universe and if bacon's the center, fried Dulse is an outer galaxy.  

 

The trick to fried seaweed as a bacon replacement is knowing how to sneak it in with foods that have traditionally gotten a boost from bacon. Try substituting it for the bacon in a bacon & cheese omelet. Chop some up for faux bacon bits and sprinkle liberally on salad or a baked potato with sour cream. You can even wrap some around a hotdog or slip some between two slices of bread with lettuce, tomato and mayo.

 

My experience tells me the real question on everyone’s mind is:  if you have a rasher of fried, pork based bacon in one hand…… a piece of fried Dulse in the other…….and you take a bite of the real bacon…… then a bite of the Dulse……on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the baconiest……. how close is the Dulse to tasting like actual bacon?

 

The answer, as you may have guessed, depends largely upon what you fry it in. If you use olive oil or butter you’re looking at about a 5. Some folks use sesame oil or peanut oil and that kicks it up a notch to a 6. For the absolute closest approximation of real smoked swine…. Dulse fried up in pure bacon grease is hard to beat!