I’d like to talk about seaweed and give you a bacon flavored seaweed snacks recipe that I love. I’m very fond of those roasted seaweed snacks you find all over nowadays. Annie Chun’s and Trader Joe’s are a few of the companies that come to mind who make these addictive treats. Nori, the seaweed that is wrapped around your sushi roll, is basically flavored and lightly oiled and then roasted. Salty and crunchy, these are a great satisfying snack that has no carbohydrates, and has a pretty good nutrient profile. Seaweed nutrition is impressive. All types of seaweed whether it’s kelp or nori or kombu are high in fiber, low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin b12 and iodine. Unfortunately, the added ingredients and the types of oils used when manufacturing them make most seaweed snacks less than ideal. Google image searching “seaweed snack ingredients” will reveal some of these undesirable ingredients: maltodextrin and brown sugar are a few things I’d like to avoid. I am trying to avoid added sugar wherever I can. The choice of oils concerns me as well: sunflower, safflower and olive oils are omega 6 heavy and are not real stable oils. The western diet already has too much inflammation causing omega 6 oils-one reason I try to limit added vegetable oils wherever I can. Vegetable oils tend to go rancid when heated as well. “These roasted seaweed snacks have so much going for them besides these “junky” additives” I thought to myself. “If only I could get them made with lard”. “Yeah right” I told myself. “Just go all the way and make them with bacon somehow.”
What an interesting idea! Well, I had some bacon fat in the fridge, and found a few recipes online and tried it out…
Most recipes are pretty straight forward-oil sheets of nori, season and either pan roast or roast in a low oven. I followed the procedure detailed at maangchi.com. For seasoning, I used a small amount of sesame oil. I found this acceptable considering the majority of oil used in the recipe would be bacon fat. Man, I love the taste of sesame oil.
For 20 nori sheets I used a mixture of 2 tbs of bacon fat and just shy of a teaspoon of sesame oil mixed together. Working on top of paper towels, I used a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of oil on the shiny side of the nori which was facing up:
I sprinkled a small amount of sea salt and placed another sheet, smooth side up on top of the first sheet. I continued this process until all the sheets were used up.
At this point, I rolled all the sheets of seaweed into a roll and wrapped it in paper towel. I let this set and rest to allow the nori to soak up the oil mixture as I heated up a cast iron skillet over medium heat. I placed a sheet rough side down into the hot skillet and pressed it down with a spatula.
The nori will shrink and curl as it gets hot, hence the spatula to flatten it out. After about 20-25 seconds, I placed another sheet, rough side up on top of the sheet in the pan. I then flipped the two sheets so the new piece was rough side down on the pan and roasted it for another 20 or so seconds while I repeated this process with the remaining sheets-each time making sure the rough side would be the side that touches the pan.
At this point your’re done. Let them cool and cut into squares. I went a little heavy on the oil when I prepped the sheets. Because of this, they were a little greasy and I ended up blotting the sheets on paper towels-much like as you would bacon. Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer for maximum crispness.
These taste pretty amazing. They have a strong blast of seaweed and bacon with a nice peppery finish. You know they must be pretty good because I’m describing the taste as if I were talking about a fine wine. And I don’t have to think about excess sugars or rancid oils as I pig out on them!
Other recipes call for roasting in the oven. In the future I will try this method as well. I believe the real trick however you make these is to keep the oil on the light side. Next time I’ll be wiping the oil mix on with a paper towel and see how that goes. The tip to store in the freezer from maangchi.com is spot on-these were still crispy a week later.
DIY roasted seaweed was pretty easy overall with pretty awesome results. I was looking for an easy to make, great tasting snack that is pretty much guilt free. I’ll be experimenting with the choice of oil and seasonings as well. Coconut oil, clarified butter, onion powder, garlic powder, powdered mushrooms….who knows what else? If you want to make a suggestion of your own, why not contact us on our Facebook page and let us know!