Foraging: Laver crisps

Fresh Laver washed (and washed, and washed) clean of sand and ready for toastingFair enough though, I'll agree that it does somewhat resemble the byproduct of a seal's hayfever upon the rocks at low tide but this was not enough to steer me clear. Layered Laver on the oven rack for drying Various references suggested that leaving a third of the algae attached would be enough to sustain growth. I did my best to spread my harvest wide and collected a fair fistful of the almost ectoplasmic, green-black filmly red algae known as Laver, Nori, Sloke, Sleabhcán (Sleabhac; "schlow-ack" - although my Irish tutor will tear strips from me for this) or one of the Porphyra species. Apologies to my fellow seaweed-nerds for failing to decipher which. A close friend shared a memory of being told that the time for harvesting the Sleabhac was early in the year before the geese got to it and began their eager feasting. I adhered as closely as I could to the directions to wash, and wash, and wash (and wash again) the Laver to rid the film-like folds of fine sand. I can't say I'm a big fan of grinding sand between my teeth but neither was I fond of the fiddly job of washing this slippery bugger for too long. Two oven racks were draped with the Laver about two layers deep then bunged into the fan oven pre-heated to 100 degrees C for about 30 minutes. Toasted Laver crisps - tasty, savoury goodness The resultant crispy laver popped off the racks easily for storage. These tasty snacks now have a delightful property by which they have a wonderful crispy crunch before melting on your tongue. Savoury goodness devoid of fat and dodgy oils and though the chemical compounds in seaweeds can vary enormously from individual to individual, the nutritional value of this delight is nothing short of surprising; even at its lowest values (2000 ppm; with highs around 8000 ppm) it bests cow's milk for calcium (1220 ppm), weight for weight. It might be easier to knock back of milk than Nori - but I'm willing to give it a crack. Perhaps a Bloody Nori could find itself onto the cocktail menus of the pubs out here in the West. I'll stick to the ccrisps for now. The toasted Laver ready for grinding

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