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June 21, 2008

Pickled Kelp from the Gulf of Maine

Well, Yuki has done it again.

While enjoying a plate of sushi rolls at Suzuki Sushi the other day, creative genius Yuki Goseki greeted us at our table with a tiny bowl containing her latest East-West culinary experiment: pickled kelp.

Kelpv2

When met with our blank stares, Yuki quickly explained that she and owner Joe Steinberger and seaweed chemistry expert David Myslabodski, had ventured out to Ash Point on Owls Head to harvest Oarweed (Laminaria longicruris). Wading out into a thick forest of the stuff that grows below the low tide mark, they cut the kelp and brought back the wide blades and long stipes, or stems, to consider how it could be used in the restaurant. Yuki was especially interested in the thick brown, tubular stems, and started experimenting.

After cutting the stem into smaller pieces, she blanched them quickly and pickled them in a mixture of mirin (sweet rice wine), rice vinegar, and soy sauce infused with a hot Japanese chile pepper. She served them to us chilled and stacked like little Lincoln Logs, garnished with a fresh chive blossom.

Crunchy like a pickle, sour like a pickle, they look nothing like a Morse’s pickle. But we liked them. You would too.

Merrill Williams is the publisher of Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

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