Dulse Seaweed: The Bacon of the Ocean

Once a hidden gem only found in sleepy coastal seafood markets, Dulse has been making quite the impression as the next vegetarian bacon.  And while it doesn’t taste exactly like the beloved breakfast meat, it comes pretty close.

What Does Dulse Taste Like?

Dulse has a salty ocean flavor with a slightly funky, fishy aroma that mellows out as it cooks. When cooked, the seaweed takes on a rich and salty umami-forward flavor.

Dulse that’s been smoked and fried has often been compared to bacon in terms of taste. And though it may not be a perfect substitute, it does carry a very similar flavor profile (smoky, salty, rich) while bringing pleasant notes of the sea.

Image Credit: Flickr user Oregon Sea Grant ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

Where to Buy Dulse?

Because dulse has a relatively short harvest season and doesn’t transport very well in its raw form, it can be difficult to find fresh. But if you’re adamant, you may have some luck finding fresh dulse in markets along the North Atlantic coast and on coastal areas of northern Europe.

But if these options aren’t accessible to you, don’t worry. Dried dulse is much more common and just as delicious as its fresh counterpart. You can purchase whole dulse, dried dulse flakes, or dulse powder in specialty food stores and online.

What to Do with Dulse?

Image Credit: Flickr user Oregon Department of Agriculture ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

You can use dulse to add an instant shot of umami to practically any savory dish. It works like superpowered salt, adding depth and enhancing the flavors of soups, sauces, and marinades.

For an unexpected twist on a dinner staple, try making a dulse compound butter to use in place of the garlic butter in classic steak and potatoes. The savory seaweed butter would also be a welcome addition to hearty corned beef and cabbage with Irish butter potatoes or Irish soda bread, as dulse is a local favorite in northern Ireland.

To experience dulse at its most bacon-like, pan-fry whole or flaked dried dulse for a few seconds to crisp it up. Add the dulse “bacon” to sandwiches and salads or enjoy it on its own as a snack.

Feature Image: Bakd&Raw by Karolin Baitinger on Unsplash

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