Seaweed Romaine Salad

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 30 minutes

We tend to think of seaweed only as an Asian food, but the people of the United Kingdom (and Canada’s Maritimes) are also longtime seaweed eaters. And why not? It grows all over the world. This Mediterranean-flavored salad will give you an idea of how well seaweed takes to the flavors of any cuisine.

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 1/2 ounce)

1 cup dried fine seaweed, like arame, instant wakame, or chopped dulse (about 1/2 ounce)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed

1/2 cup chopped Roasted Red Peppers (or use good store-bought roasted peppers)

3 cups torn romaine leaves, plus a few small whole leaves for garnish

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, Parmesan, or ricotta salata cheese, plus more for the table

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

01 Put the tomatoes in a small bowl and pour on enough boiling water just to cover. Soak for 5 to 8 minutes, until they are pliable but not mushy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.

02 Add the seaweed to the hot tomato-soaking water and soak for about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the tomatoes and put them in a salad bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, pine nuts, garlic, and roasted bell pepper to the bowl and stir to combine.

03 Drain the seaweed, reserving the flavorful liquid for another use if you like. Add it to the bowl and stir to coat in the dressing. (The salad may be made up to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.) To serve, toss the romaine and basil into the salad. Sprinkle with the cheese and toss again. Taste and add salt if necessary and lots of black pepper. Garnish with the reserved romaine leaves and pass the extra cheese at the table.

Variations

Balsamic Seaweed Romaine. For a slightly sweeter, deeper taste: Use 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar instead of the red wine vinegar.

High-Flavor Seaweed Romaine. Make either the main recipe or the balsamic variation. When you stir the dressing, add 1/2 cup chopped pitted black or green olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot. Proceed with Step 3.