When I started working with Karengo and used it on something moist, the flavour would intensify and produce something that I recognised but couldn’t immediately identify, until I had a ‘light bulb moment’! Re-hydrated karengo has a flavour reminiscent of mild anchovies. Mostly I had used it soft-dried straight out of the bag or dried-crunchy, which has to be executed very carefully because karengo leaves are incredibly delicate and easy to burn.
Now you can imagine the possibilities, especially if you are an anchovy addict or just a Mediterranean cuisine fan (they use anchovies a lot!).
My discovery led me to many culinary experiments and I have been able to reproduce & transform some of the most famous Provencal recipes, making them vegetarian and super-healthy without loosing any of the flavour. Click on the link to read more about Karengo.
One of my endeavours has been to tackle Anchoïade, a Provencal puree of anchovies, garlic & olive oil, often served on grilled bread or as a dip with any combination of crudités—from thin shavings of spicy radish to florets of broccoli romanesco, a colourful relative of broccoli and cauliflower.
I have given Anchoïade a vegetarian make-over using karengo, a seaweed from New Zealand’s South Island, instead of the traditional anchovies; and for the occasion, the concoction has been re-named ‘Karengoïade’. It can be made ahead in big portions if you like it, and kept in the fridge for quite a while. Its shelf life is very long, certainly 2-3 months – in fact I would say that the flavour improves with time as the various ingredients integrate.
2 tbsp each of Karengo flakes & granules
3 shallots, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup macadamia oil
1/2 cup light olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp finely chopped macadamia nuts
2 tbsp small capers, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine karengo, finely chopped shallot and olive oil in a skillet.
Gently warm the mixture over very low heat, stirring for 5 minutes or more to infuse the flavours.
Remove from heat and stir in capers, black pepper, zest, vinegar and nuts.
Gradually incorporate the Macadamia oil.
Set aside to cool down.
Karengoïade can be made quite chunky and used this way as a garnish or dressing on vegetables. It is also delicious ground finer in a food processor (or pestle & mortar), turned into a tasty spread for crostinis, or in a tomato or roast vegetables sandwich. It is a great garnish on feta cheese or simply served as a dip for raw vegetables cut matchsticks style.
Karengoïade as a spread on crostinis
Karengo offers a different taste based on preparation. It can also be used in dessert – it pairs wonderfully with chocolate & ginger!
In Chinese medicine, this specie of seaweed is recommended for resolving phlegm, softens hardness, dispels heat, and promotes diuresis. It also has applications for edema, urinary infections and sore throat.