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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Richard Corrigan’s secret ingredient: seaweed | Food

Generations have eaten seaweed – including my mother who is from Connemara in the west of Ireland and was brought up chewing dried carrageen moss. Seaweed is not new to British or Irish culture – to urban Englanders, maybe.

I first went picking seaweed about 16-17 years ago. I learned that some seaweeds are very slow growing and seasonal; you wouldn’t want to encourage a load of idiots to go and pick everything on the foreshore because it can cause a lot of damage.

I make seaweed butter at Bentley’s. We dry sea lettuce and dulse seaweed, then we grind them all down. I use a bit of chopped salted anchovy or anchovy puree, then fold it all into a really good country butter at the last moment. It is the most delicious, simple thing you could eat in the world.

If you’re making a potato and oyster soup, just whizz a little bit of sea lettuce in at the last moment. It gives it a wonderful iodine, coastal flavour; it’s magic, really.

Seaweed tapenades work brilliantly. Take a tapenade recipe and remove any vinegar or acid content and add a good mix of finely chopped seaweed. There’s no exact recipe, just make sure the seaweed represents 50% of your mix. Roast a piece of fresh fish (sea bass, brill, bream) and add a spoonful of the tapenade. It’s quite incredible that you’re not inclined to look for a lemon.

Richard Corrigan is chef-owner of Bentley’s and Corrigan’s Mayfair

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