I have found that Sea Lettuce pairs really well with fruits. I like to work with the leaves - their bright colour never fails to lift the look of a dish and their delicate taste doesn't need strongly flavoured seasoning. This surprising combination with roasted pineapple is visually stunning, super easy to prepare and really pleasing to the taste buds! Try it next time you entertain. Serve it as a canapé, in individual spoons as shown here, with a glass of sparkling wine; alternatively set it up as a delicate first course in tiny shells, 3 shells per serving (Queen Scallop shells are just the right size).
5g dried Sea Lettuce leaves (half a bag)
2 slices of fresh pineapple *
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp agave syrup (or honey)
2 tbsp shoyu (type of soya sauce)
1 tsp sesame oil 2 tbsp pineapple juice (or water)
* Note: Using a fresh pineapple gives a better appearance and flavour to the dish. Canned pineapple has a diminished taste, texture and nutrition because of the canning process which involves blanching the fruit. To select a fresh pineapple that is ready to eat, pull gently on one of the top green leave and if it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe. The outside skin should not be totally green (unripe) or yellow (over-ripe). Before cutting the fruit, stand the pineapple upside down (over the opening of a jar works well) for a while (20 minutes) so the sweet juices that have accumulated at the bottom of the fruit can flow back to the top.
First cut a fresh pineapple into chunks. Click on the link to find out how to cut a fresh pineapple. Pan fry the chunks with a little bit of oil (olive, coconut & macadamia oils are good choices) until golden & crunchy on the edges.
Dip the sea lettuce leaves in tepid water (or you can try pineapple juice or herbal tea) for a few seconds, just long enough to moisten but not so much that the leaves become soggy; then squeeze the extra liquid out. Fluff up the leaves with your hands, separating them from each other as the moisture spread evenly to make them less brittle.
Chop the leaves if you find them too chunky. Prepare the dressing by mixing the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the sea Lettuce leaves with the dressing and combine.
Serve individual portions in a serving spoon as per the picture and top with a piece of grilled/roasted pineapple. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Chef's tips: It is best to mix the dressing into the leaves at the last minute so they retain their structure and do not wilt too quickly.
A word of warning: sea lettuce likes to grow in nutrient rich waters and can grow in polluted areas. Although Sea Lettuce grows in abundance in New Zealand, commercial harvest is not permitted. Our Sea Lettuce is currently imported from Europe.
Sea Lettuce leaves are a colourful and nutritious addition to soups, omelette, savoury baking and stir-fry dishes. Leaves may also be used to wrap little food parcels to frying, grilling or poaching.
Like all seaweed, Sea Lettuce is a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals & trace elements. It is particularly strong in iron, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin A, Bs & C.