During a workshop we were asked about puffed kelp. The chef had seen a picture of a snack created by Chef Matt Orlando from Amass Restaurant featuring puffed kelp with a puree of lumpfish liver (I believe.) I had never seen or heard of puffed kelp before. But, I figured we could make it happen. We took filaments of kombu and boiled them in water until they were overcooked and tender. We drained the kombu and dehydrated it. Then we fried the filaments in 400°F oil. The little kombu filaments puffed slightly. This lightened the texture and made it a crunchy, salty treat. It has plenty of possibilities in the kitchen. It also sparks the exploration of puffing other seaweeds.
The gelatinous nature of seaweeds indicates that the results are similar to what happens when frying gelatin-based ingredients and mixtures. Think about what happens when you fry pig skins, there's a huge puff and crunch, and that's pure gelatin. Next we should explore using seaweed and seaweed extracts to facilitate the frying and puffing of ingredients which would normally be impossible to fry.
April 28, 2005