Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Marinated Hijiki Salad
I imagine the first question you are asking yourself is what is hijiki and why should I eat it. Hijiki is a sea vegetable that is full of vitamins and minerals but has a fairly strong taste. Hijiki is sold dried in small bags in the Asian section of most large supermarkets. Sea Vegetables of all types contain high levels of iodine, vitamin K and B vitamins. They are also reported to be a good source of lignans, which is a plant compound that is thought to have cancer-protective properties. Lignans have been shown in laboratory test to inhibit angiogenesis (the proliferation of new blood vessels that promotes rapid growth of cancer cells). Lignans have also been credited with inhibiting estrogen synthesis, which assists in the reduction of risk of hormonal based cancers (breast and prostate). With these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to give hijiki a try?
When I am serving it to someone that is new to sea vegetables I soak it overnight in the refrigerator to remove a lot of its flavor. As your palate becomes more accustomed to the flavor a quick 30 minute soak is more than enough for this sea vegetable. The soaking liquid can be saved in the freezer for the next time you are making soup; it is full of minerals and would be a shame to throw away. If you don’t like the flavor the soaking liquid it is great for your plants.
This is my version of a Mediterranean sea vegetable salad. The same salad can be made with arame (a more mild sea vegetable that is also sold dried).
1 40 g bag of dried Hijiki
Water to cover the Hijiki by a volume of 5
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, grated
salt and pepper to taste
½ a red onion, sliced thin
1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Place the hijiki in a colander and rinse thoroughly before moving it to a large vessel with a lid. Soak the hijiki overnight in enough liquid to cover the sea vegetable by at least 5 times. The hijiki will expand by 4 times while it soaks. If you are new to hijiki soak it overnight to remove much of the strong flavor, otherwise a thirty minute soak is sufficient.
Drain and rinse the hijiki thoroughly.
Make the dressing for the salad. Combine the vinegar, oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the hijiki with the dressing. Add the sliced onions and tomatoes and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the hijiki to absorb the dressing. After 4 hours taste the salad and add more dressing if you think the hijiki taste is too prominent.
I eat this salad cold sometime alone, or sometimes over greens or with julienned greens tossed into the salad. I also have been known to add a little bit of this to a wrap sandwich in place of the lettuce. Even though it has salad in the name this is not meant to be eaten in large quantity. I eat a tablespoon of hijiki salad once of twice a day when I have it in the refrigerator. Prepared as a marinated salad hijiki will last for a week in the refrigerator.
This salad is an acquired taste. However sea vegetables are so healthy for everyone that they are a taste that is healthy to acquire. Initially you will find yourself wanting to add more dressing to overpower the sea flavor. After eating sea vegetable a few times the flavor of the vegetables becomes much more palatable.