Sea Spaghetti With Pesto And Mackerel
Despite repeated endorsements from chefs, food writers and nutritionalists over the last decade, seaweed has proven to be a hard sell to UK consumers. We can kind of see why. Most people’s only interaction with it is limited to the smelly, rotten stuff at the high tide line and the conveyor belt at their local YO! Sushi.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. The UK boasts some incredible seaweeds - and although the word ‘superfood’ is bandied around a little too often for our liking - if any foodstuff deserves it then seaweed is it.
All the seaweed varieties you find in this country (with the exception of one which you’d have to invest in diving gear to get close to) are edible, nutritious, plentiful and, of course, completely free.
Which is not to say they are all delicious. However, dulse, kelp, laver and the seaweed we’re using today - Himanthalia Elongata (AKA sea spaghetti) - most certainly are.
As for mackerel, well, this beautiful oily fish is not just sustainable, affordable and packed full of omega 3, its also utterly delicious. No wonder it's the favourite fish of Michelin Star chefs like Nathan Outlaw.
If your dinner guests are freaked out by the idea of eating seaweed, tell them that if they eat any processed foods or ice-cream there’s a strong probability they’ll already have eaten some this week. That will be thanks to the inclusion of the seaweed carragheen which is widely used as a thickener and stabiliser in lots of foods.
Ingredients for two
|Rapeseed oil||as needed|
We’re not going to get into the nitty gritty of how to forage or prepare seaweed – there are plenty of instructions online – but if you’re starting with fresh sea spaghetti we’d recommend a thorough wash followed by a 10-15 minute soak in lemon juice which will not only add flavour but tenderise it too. Starting with dried seaweed? Simply rehydrate according to pack instructions.
Lightly salt a pan of water, add the seaweed and set a timer for 12 minutes.
Whilst the spaghetti is cooking, heat an oiled, non-stick pan until ripping hot, season your mackerel fillets and fry for 2-3 minutes, skin side down.
Flip the fillets and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer them to a chopping board and either shred or keep whole, you choose.
When the spaghetti is al dente, drain and stir through the pesto. Arrange the mackerel on top and serve with lemon wedges and a generous amount of Parmesan.
To prolong the shelf-life of your precious haul, consider dehydrating it. You can buy a dedicated dehydrator, but all you really need to do is place the sea spaghetti in an oven on the lowest possible setting with the door open. Check regularly to see how dry it is getting because it can take anything from 2-4 hours depending on the conditions. Once fully dehydrated, pop the spaghetti in an air-tight container where it will last for at least a year. Simply rehydrate before cooking by soaking it in water for an hour.