One of the newer vendors at the Hollywood and Santa Monica farmers' markets is Carlsbad Aquafarm. Hailing from the Agua Hedionda Lagoon outside San Diego, the family-run business provides farm-raised, sustainably-harvested oysters, mussels, clams, and abalone. (The business was interviewed on Good Food earlier this year.) Being a vegetarian, I must admit I had been passing the stand by, until I discovered that they also carry fresh seaweed.
Carlsbad Aquafarm's red ogo seaweed is crisp and lightly salty. It's a refreshing change from the dried and reconstituted seaweed I usually get at the grocery store. Their stand gladly provides samples, and I have friends who liked its crunch and were inspired to buy a carton but weren't sure what to do with it once they got home. Ogo, which is considered a "superfood" high in potassium, iron, and calcium, can be used in salads, soups, and Hawaiian pokes. Here's a quick, basic salad recipe. While I highly recommend trying red ogo if you have access to it, the recipe could be adapted for other types of seaweed such as wakame.
Store ogo in water in the refrigerator to keep it fresh
Red Ogo Salad
1 cup red ogo, torn or chopped if seaweed is in large pieces
2 small Japanese or Persian cucumbers, sliced (about 1 cup)
6 ounces firm tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
Soy sauce, tamari, or liquid amino acids (optional)
Black sesame seeds
In a medium bowl, combine sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, and ginger.
Add seaweed, cucumbers, and tofu and toss to coat.
Optionally, add soy sauce to taste. The seaweed may be salty enough on its own.
Plate and garnish with chives and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
(Images: Gregory Han and Emily Ho)