Aglio & Olio "Sapore di Mare"
with Nori-Flavoured Pangrattato
Just a few ingredients can impart such a strong flavour of sea to your food - samphire, nori & kombu seaweed, rapeseed oil, sparkling water.
As someone who didn't grow up vegetarian, I sometimes still miss the taste of meat/fish, even after 11 years of plant-based eating!
I'm not fond of mock-meats and processed food, so when I get such cravings I turn to whole vegetables - cooking them with seasoning and spices that have a similar texture or flavour of non-veg foods.
I've been OBSESSIVELY thinking about creating a vegan pasta that tasted like the sea for the last two weeks. I bought some ingredients, and kept making up the recipe in my head over and over. Until today I went for it.
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 large sheet of nori seaweed
1 small piece of kombu
1/3 glass of sparkling water or soda
1 tbsp chilli oil
salt as needed
First, make nori pagrattato. Dry roast breadbrumbs with crushed nori seaweed. Let them brown slightly and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch the samphire for 30 secs. Drain it but keep the same water to a rolling boil. Do not add any salt as the samphire is very salty and you will use this water to cook the pasta too.
Add kombu to the water and boil for a good 5 mins - you want to create a sort of stock from the kombu and previously cooked samphire. At this stage, taste if the water needs a salt and add as needed. Cook pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat rapeseed oil in a pan and add garlic and chilli. Sauté for a few secs and when garlic browns, add sparkling water a few splashes at a time to cook on medium-high. Add also a few splashes of the pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta and transfer to the pan. Add the samphire and mix quickly, removing from the flame to prevent burning.
Season with chopped parsley and chilli oil and complete with a very generous sprinkle of nori pangrattato.