MIn order to protect the planet, an should be open to unfamiliar but ubiquitously available foods such as mealworms or stinging nettles. Algae should also be on the menu of the future. I almost stepped into one of them, the green felt algae, on the beach in the Algarve in Portugal. Here the walker will find tons of brown algae reminiscent of tangled grass and exude an odor of old fish. Codium fragile looks completely different, reminiscent of fleshy antlers, bright green, soft and slippery. Her English nickname “dead mans fingers” fits well.
There is an incredible number of different types of algae, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to a million species. In theory, they could replace fish, a superfood from the sea, in terms of taste. Although algae do not contain any omega 3, they do contain proteins, many vitamins such as A, D, E, C and B, and minerals. In Japan, people have been eating seaweed for a long time, as sushi or in salads. Away from Japanese restaurants, Europeans are still a little unfamiliar with the algae, they are more likely to be found as an ingredient in shampoos or toothpaste. However, in a report for the Dutch Ministry of Food, researchers at Wageningen University predict that the algae industry will also grow strongly in Europe, especially in Holland, and that algae will soon be used to make burgers, wraps and salads.
Although the felt algae is found in almost all seas, it is rarely eaten, I only find dishes from Korea, steamed as “Cheong Gak”, and in Hawaii they are eaten raw with tomatoes. If you’re wondering what that tastes like but live far from the nearest beach, you can check the Foodpairing company’s website. They specialize in analyzing tastes, and that’s probably a science in itself: according to a complicated diagram, the Felt seaweed carries “green” aromas typical of seafood, but also has notes of vanilla, smoky aromas and something floral. The seaweed goes very well with food: coffee, fries, tequila, duck breast, mango and asparagus. Other, less analytical spirits are on the Internet, they simply taste like mussels. Unfortunately, even in the service of journalism, I couldn’t bring myself to try the slimy dead fingers. For the braver, there’s a recipe for a codium salad with onions and sherry sauce on the Eat the Weeds website.