Crispy Fried Seaweed
Updated: Jul 4, 2019
We all know this dish from our local Chinese takeaway. But do we all believe that it is really seaweed? Do we? But I'm sure many of us know that the orange-coloured seasoning that comes with our "seaweed" is powdered, dried, scallop roe. Don't we?
Many scallop recipes (for example my Scallop and Apple Tartare with Pickled Cucumber) call for only the white meat to be used and for the roe to be excluded. This means that if you're buying whole scallops (whether live-in-the-shell or pre-shucked) there is a lot of roe that could go to waste. I'm sure there are many, like me, that care less for the roe than the white meat of a scallop. But of those having a similar preference, I'm confident there are also many that also love Chinese crispy fried seaweed!?
In fact you can use pretty much any dark-coloured greens to achieve a very similar result to the familiar takeaway dish. Here I have used summer greens and roasted thin shreds in the oven, rather than deep-frying, so as to keep the amount of oil down. Curly kale and Cavolo Nero would be very suitable alternatives.
The powdered, dried scallop roe is very easy to make at home. I don't really know how long it can be kept for but if, once powdered, it went in an air-tight jar, I would certainly use it several days later.
So, in summary, with this "crispy fried seaweed" recipe, there is no seaweed and it's not fried. But it is crispy. And it's healthier, cheaper and saves less-favoured scallop roes from going to waste. Bring back any memories of that TV series called "Take on the Takeaway" (see link)?
Crispy Fried Seaweed
Ingredients (adjust according to the quantity required)
Scallop roes (10 will make enough seasoning for 2-3 servings)
Dark-coloured greens, washed and dried well, coarse stalks removed
For the powdered dried scallop roes, spread the roes out on a baking sheet (silicon is ideal) and cook in the oven at around 100°C for about 3-5 hours depending on size and how moist they are to start with. Turn them over occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, remove from the oven and allow to cool, then blitz in a coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder.
To make the dish, preheat the oven to 220°C or, better still, 200°C in a fan oven.
Finely shred the greens and put in a bowl with a sprinkling of sea salt and a light drizzle of oil. Mix well to coat the greens.
Place the greens in a thin layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for around 5 minutes, turning regularly. It is easy to allow them to burn, but they may take longer.
Meanwhile mix the powdered dried scallop roes with a pinch of salt and a double pinch of sugar, or to taste.
When the greens have had their oven time, transfer them to a plate or tray lined with kitchen paper, to drain off the excess oil and crispen further for about a minute.
Serve the "seaweed" topped with a sprinkling of the scallop roe, sugar and salt mixture.
"Take on the Takeaway", BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zn94
Scallop and Apple Tartare with Pickled Cucumber: https://butestseafoodie.wixsite.com/site/post/scallop-and-apple-tartare-with-pickled-cucumber