Sea Vegetables: Arame, Carrot, Eda Mame and Arugula Salad

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If there’s a sea vegetable that’s easy to get to know and to like it would be mild tasting arame.  A member of the kelp family, it is sold dried and shredded and can be reconstituted in only five minutes, and it cooks quickly as well. Like most sea vegetables, it is high in minerals such as calcium, iodine, iron and magnesium, as well as vitamin A. In Japan it might typically be sautéed with julienned carrots and seasoned with soy sauce and mirin and garnished with toasted sesame seeds. Here, I’ve elaborated on that by adding eda mame and arugula and tossing everything in a Japanese-style dressing.  Quick to make and easy to eat, this might be a good introductory dish for people who aren’t sure if they like sea vegetables (full recipe is after the jump). If you can’t find arame at your natural foods store, Eden Foods is a good mail-order source. I’ve posted previously about sea vegetables here.

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ARAME, CARROT, EDA MAME AND ARUGULA SALAD

(serves 4 as a small side salad)

1 cup (lightly packed) dried arame (about .6 ounce), soaked in water to cover for 5 minutes, then drained well

1 large or 2 medium carrots, julienned

1 cup (6 ounces) shelled eda mame (in this case, frozen is fine–but thaw in advance)

4 cups (lightly packed) arugula, washed and dried.

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

soy sauce, toasted sesame oil (or canola oil), mirin, to taste

1. Heat a teaspoon or two of sesame or canola oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, toss in the arame, sauté for a minute or two, add a little splash of soy sauce and mirin, and continue cooking two or three minutes more, add one tablespoon of sesame seeds, taste and add soy sauce and mirin as needed. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

2. Dip the julienned carrots in boiling water for 30 seconds, quickly remove from water and drain well. Allow to cool.

3. Just before serving, toss together the arame, carrots, eda mame and the arugula. Add one tablespoon of the dressing and toss gently. Add a little more dressing if needed. Save the remaining dressing for later use. Garnish with the reserved teaspoon of sesame seeds.

For the dressing:

6-7 teaspoons soy sauce (to taste)

4 teaspoons brown rice syrup (or sweetener of choice)

5-6 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (or to taste)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional, but good)

a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Pour the ingredients into a medium bowl, whisk together well, taste and adjust seasoning.

N.B.: You could substitute hijiki for the arame in this recipe.  However, you’ll need to increase the soaking and cooking times by five minutes or so.

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Soak the dried arame in water to cover for 5 minutes or until it seems fully hydrated, but still is “al dente” when tasted.
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