Seaweed and Wholewheat Rolls
The first time I tasted fresh Seaweed, was on Iceland. I was up there doing an exhibition with my Icelandic friend Eva. Jon, the owner of the gallery we were exhibiting in took us on a long walk along the coast from the town of Bildadur, stopping along the way to sample bits of fresh seaweed.
The vast beauty and magic of Iceland is hard to explain briefly. But a good word is however, empty. It’s empty in an amazing way. The landscapes are mostly untouched my man, which allows your imagination to wander as you realize that the first Norse settlers who came to the island, would have seen the landscape in exactly the same way. Iceland is relatively small as countries go, but standing on the shore with towering, near vertical mountains rising up above is at once overwhelming and immensely inspiring.
I didn’t initially swear to forever more eat seaweed on a regular basis, after being presented with a few strands to eat on the beach that day. But after receiving this book a few years later, by Danish author Anette Eckman, her inspiring small chapter on Bladderwrack got me thinking about seaweed once more.
Bladderwrack is an abundant seaweed that grows in the Scottish waters and indeed in all of the North Sea and Atlantic and is also known as Black Tang or Rockweed. It’s super nutritious and has properties that reduce cholesterol, boost the metabolism as well as many more good things. For more on Bladderwrack go here.
You should harvest the Bladderwrack at low tide in order to get out to the plants that grow in flowing water. Using a pair of scissors cut 10-15 cm of the tops of the weeds, leaving the majority of the plant intact so it can continue to grow. The seaweed should have no smell if it is fresh, and don’t harvest weeds that have washed up on the shore as they are no longer fresh. You can harvest seaweed all year round, but spring is best for the tasty new shoots.
I harvested my seaweed in a wetsuit, from a ‘blue flag’ beach, that has no pollution, make sure you do the same. (not the wetsuit, just the clean water!)
Note: There are over 10.000 seaweed varieties and very few of them are non-edible, but some are better than others for use in the kitchen. This is a good site for more info.
Once home, wash your seaweed in plenty of fresh water to remove some of the salt. Seaweed has many uses, it can be blanched for a couple of min and add to pasta dishes or soups. You can also dry the seaweed in the oven at 60 degrees for 30 min, or until completely dry. Store in airtight containers. Once submerged into water, the seaweed becomes as good as new!
Anette Eckmann suggests adding Bladderwrack to your favourite bread recipe, and that is exactly what I’ve done.
Makes 8 large Rolls
1 tsp easy bake yeast
500g organic strong wholewheat flour
50g organic porridge oats
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
a big handful of washed and chopped Bladderwrack
350ml luke warm water
sea salt and sesame seeds for the top.
In a bowl mix together the flour, salt and yeast. Then stir in the maple syrup, oil and Bladderwrack. Add the water and mix to form a soft dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead for 10 min by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. Drizzle a little olive oil into a bowl, pop the dough in, cover and leave to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
When risen, divide the dough into 8 balls and place on a greased baking tray. Cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise for an additional 45 min. Once risen brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds or some extra seaweed.
In a preheated oven at 220 °c / 400 °f / gas 6, bake for 25-35 min, until golden. The rolls are ready when they sound hollow when tapped.