Dulse is a dark crimson seaweed with leathery finger-like fronds. This North-Atlantic seaweed is very popular globally, especially in Canada and parts of Europe (primarily Ireland and Russia). It is slightly crunchy with a nutty & smoky taste. Dulse is rich in iron and has more protein than almonds or sesame.
I first tasted Dulse when I lived in Canada and travelled to the Atlantic Provinces for a holiday. It is harvested there on the coast of Nova Scotia. It is sold in various forms, mainly dried – sometimes the whole plant can be purchased dried, and can be chopped as desired, or the fronds (pieces of the leaves) made into chips. Click on the link to find out more about Dulse.
The Dulse used in this recipe for seaweed pesto comes from Brittany and has been cut into small flakes. It is convenient to sprinkle on food and just put in the food processor with the other ingredients to quickly make this wonderful pesto. It doesn’t need to be re-hydrated for this recipe as it will absorb the juices from the parsley & basil and some of the oil. If it gets a bit dry as it stands, just add a bit of water or oil to the mixture.
You can try this recipe with different oils (avocado, macadamia etc), nuts (almond, cashew or macadamia), allium (shallots, green onions, red onions) or herbs (rocket, coriander or any other soft herb) to get a variation in colour & flavour.
40g Pacific Harvest Dulse flakes
175ml extra-virgin olive oil
50g pine nuts, lightly roasted
3 garlic cloves, crushed
50g fresh basil leaves
50g flat leaf parsley
50g fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Using a food processor, combine the seaweed with the other ingredients with pulse feature. Stop and turn ingredients over with a spatula and combine for 30 seconds.
By hand with a mortar and pestle, chop the ingredients finely and slowly add the oil and cheese while mixing and crunching with the pestle.
The oil helps incorporate the cheese and add to the taste, so choose a good oil. Place the pesto in a tight jar (or simply in an air-tight plastic container), covered by a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil, which keeps it fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator.
The word ‘Pesto’ comes from the Italian for ‘pounding’ or ‘crushing’, traditionally done with a pestle & mortar. Sometimes the pesto is also prepared by hand, chopping the various ingredients to size which gives a result that has more texture. Nowadays, it is faster & easier to use a food processor and get excellent results. The traditional pesto finds its origin in Genoa but the word is now use to describe similar mixtures that contain various types of herbs, nuts, allium (genus for various onions & garlic) & cheese. Just the same, pesto has traditionally been used on pasta, vegetables and sometimes soups now is a versatile garnish seen in a wide variety of dishes.
Pesto can be used in a number of dishes: to flavour pasta, in toasted sandwiches with cheese/avocado/tomatoes, garnish on goat cheese/humus/baba ganoush, condiment for steamed vegetables or fish, garnish for creamy soups, flavouring for breads & pizza.
Dulse is mildly spicy and can give a peppery zing to dishes. It is lovely on potatoes or in savoury baking; dulse is also a fantastic addition to fish stews, soups & pies.
Dulse is a good source of minerals & all trace elements; it is very high in iron, rich in potassium & magnesium and contains good iodine. Dulse contains large amounts of vitamins B12 and overall its vitamin content is much higher than a vegetable such as spinach.