Nori is known and loved as a wrap for sushi, but you don’t need a gob of rice to enjoy the mild-flavored, toasted sheets of seaweed. Toasted nori sheets can be ground into powder (a coffee grinder works well for this) and the powder can sprinkled liberally as a seasoning for meat, seafood, vegetables, sauces and dressings. In other words, if you like the flavor of seaweed you can add nori powder to just about anything.
Like other types of sea vegetables, nori is a good source of healthy minerals, so the more ways you have to add it to your diet, the better. Mash nori powder up with butter (and melt it over meat and roasted veggies), blend it with sea salt, or, follow this recipe and whisk nori into a vinaigrette.
This vibrant green sauce is such a simple way to add a powerhouse green – watercress – to your diet. Make the sauce in your blender in a just few minutes by combining coconut milk with watercress, cilantro, green onion, garlic and ginger. Similar in flavor to a mild green curry, the sauce pairs especially well with fish but can also be served over chicken or red meat.
Watercress, with its fairly mild but peppery flavor, is an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1 and B6, C, E and K, iodine, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It also contains a flavonoid called quercetin that might reduce inflammation.
If you like the spicy, vinegary bite of pickled ginger, then it’s a condiment you easily could, and should, make at home. Scan the labels of pickled ginger next time you’re at the grocery store and you’re likely to find ingredient lists that include artificial pink dye, aspartame or lots of sugar.
Using three ingredients at home – ginger, rice vinegar and honey – and a very simple method, you can make your own pickled ginger in about 20 minutes. Give it another 24 hours for flavor to develop and the pickled ginger is ready to eat. It keeps almost indefinitely, so just stash it in the refrigerator door with your other refrigerated condiments.
If something akin to “meat butter” sounds good to you, then head to your favorite local (or online) butcher shop and ask for pancetta, guanciale or lardo. All three are fatty cuts of pork – with an emphasis on fatty – that are dry cured with salt, herbs and spices.
Guanciale comes from the jowl, lardo comes from the back and pancetta comes from the belly. The long curing time (usually a couple months or so) means these seriously tasty slabs of mostly fat marbled with a little meat can be eaten raw. This is usually done by draping very thin slices of pancetta, guanciale or lardo over cooked meat, fish or vegetables, so it melts like butter. Meaty, salty, extremely rich butter.
Squid is a mild-flavored, quick cooking, quite decent source of omega-3s, copper and selenium. So if fish is too fishy for you, or you’re craving a new way to get your seafood fix, then this recipe for grilled squid salad is the answer. So much healthier than battered, deep fried calamari, this recipe is light, flavorful and fit to be an appetizer or main course.
Quick-cooking squid over an open flame is the way to go, pulling it off the grill just as the edges get crispy and curl under and before it has a change to get chewy. The mild flavor is made more interesting by dousing the squid in a zippy vinaigrette made from grilled lemons, garlic and lots of oregano. This vinaigrette would also be fantastic with shrimp, salmon and chicken.
If you love hot smoked salmon but don’t own a smoker, then this recipe for hot smoked salmon is for you. This method involves rigging up a smoker in your kitchen (on a gas stove) using wood chips, aluminum foil, a round cake rack and a wok. The salmon that emerges has a big, bold smoky flavor with a little bit of a sweet-salty thing going on too.
The texture of salmon hot smoked this way, rather than in a real smoker, is moister and less flakey (expect the middle to look similar to what a fillet of regular cooked salmon looks like). So, it’s not exactly the same thing, but if you love a smoked flavor then you’ll love this salmon in its own right.