Those bloggers in the Cooking Through the Alphabet gang are wild folk. First, they tested me with T for Tofu (I jumped in late); next, U was assigned to udon. With V came vanilla beans, which seemed a simpler ingredient. But then BAM–they toss out wakame. Wha’?
While I love playing in the kitchen and do know a fair amount about food, I am not a sophisticated cook. I know seaweed in sushi and have also floated pieces of kombu in the pot when cooking dried beans. But outside of that, I don’t know dulse from hijiki from wakame. My work was cut out for me.
Google is a wonderful thing, though, and I found a smoked tofu wakame dip that intrigued. But I didn’t have smoked tofu and I had a bunch of spinach in the fridge that seemed a good fit. It turned into a bit of a pinch-and-dash affair, but I was thrilled with the final spread. It could pass for a dip–think raw veggies, pita chips, bagel thins–but I like it best slathered on dark bread and topped with lettuce, tomato, and sprouts.
Flavorwise, this spread is creamy, savory, salty. The wakame gives it a (not unpleasant) wallop of what I can only call “vegetal,” which tastes much better than it sounds. Perhaps it is the much lauded umami flavor, treasured by those who love Parmesan and blue cheeses, steak, mushrooms, and other deeply savory foods. However you describe it, this wakame spread seems a perfect way to balance deliciousness with good-for-you.
- Small handful dried wakame
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- Lots of garlic, peeled and crushed
- Few dashes soy sauce
- 8 ounces soft tofu, drained and chopped
- 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and stems discarded
- Few dashes fish sauce
- Generous sprinkle crushed red chile flakes
Soften wakame in small amount of boiling water.
Meanwhile, in small skillet, heat oil. Add onion and garlic; saute until tender. Sprinkle with soy sauce. Add tofu, spinach, and wakame with steeping liquid; cook, stirring, until spinach is softened and cooked down. With immersion blender (or transfer mixture to standing blender), puree until smooth. Stir in additional soy sauce, fish sauce, and chile flakes to taste. Makes about 2 cups.