August 29, 2012 9:55:58 AM
If you've ever had a California roll, you've had nori. Now it's time to learn what else you can do with this ubiquitous, yet always overlooked paper-like ingredient made from seaweed.
Nori -- also called laver -- is a somewhat generic name for a variety of seaweeds cultivated for use mostly in Japanese cooking. I say mostly because the same varieties are added to oatmeal in Ireland. But Americans know nori best as the paper-thin, black-green wrapping used in sushi.
Most grocers sell packages of 10-inch sheets of nori, usually near the sushi or in the international aisle. It also is used in Japanese snack cracker mixes.
Nori sheets usually are sold pre-toasted; use them as is for sushi. But when using the nori in other ways, toasting it briefly can improve the flavor and texture. To do this, simply use tongs to hold the sheets one at a time over a lit burner (or candle if you have an electric stove). About 10 to 15 seconds will suffice.
For ideas for using nori, check out the Off the Beaten Aisle column over on Food Network: http://bit.ly/NGAZAp
NORI RED PEPPER OMELET
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes 2 servings
2 sheets nori seaweed, toasted
Salt and ground black pepper
1 roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese