I'm interested in sea lettuce because it is a very common marine algae. It's not to be found on the upper shore but there are usually copious amounts of this stunning vivid seaweed in the rock pools of my local beach. Sadly this week the fronds remained allusive,even at spring tide. Eventually I tried exploring a neighbouring beach and my luck was in.
I love the blousy salad leaf-like sea lettuce fronds (Ulva lactuca). Its translucent emerald leaves are as vibrant as the jewel. Don't confuse it with the thinner, (equally delicious) ribbon like frond Enteromorphia linza.The larger frond (sea lettuce) lends itself perfectly as a wrap for fish, vegetables or chicken and it makes an inspired, protective layer on a beach barbecue.
Be wary of gathering seaweed near sewage outlets. Both sea lettuce and linza thrive in areas where fresh water seeps into the sea.
There is a simple ice-cream recipe in The Forager's Kitchen which uses lemons, single cream, sugar and ground sea lettuce. The recipe suggests using dried sea lettuce, which can be home-dried or is available from an increasing number of commercial seaweed harvesters. Do try Just Seaweed who hand cuts his seaweed from fresh, clean waters. There is also Bod Ayre and Sea Veg
|Creamy, emerald flecked sea lettuce ice-cream|
I used a handful of freshly gathered sea lettuce, which I washed and rinsed well. I then towel-dried the fronds before finely blending the sea lettuce in Magimix's Le Blender.
Disclaimer: Magimix gave me a blender and ice-cream machine but they did not pay me to promote either product.