Cooking with Marine Phytoplankton

Found in both fresh and salt water environments, Marine Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms, a kind of micro sea vegetable. Phytoplankton are found naturally in all ocean systems, flourishing worldwide, they provide much of Earth’s oxygen and fix carbon from the atmosphere down into the world’s oceans. Essentially the “building blocks” for marine life, these tiny organisms provide a new and exciting flavor profile in the culinary world.

While many marine animals harvest plankton efficiently for their consumption, aqua-culturing phytoplankton has provided a supply that is pure, fresh and dependably available. Championed in culinary circles by acclaimed Chef Angel Leon of Spain’s Aponiente Restaurant, he uses this sea vegetable to enhance various dishes with the flavor of the ocean. From an accompaniment for oysters and sardines to a dairy replacement for risotto, this sea vegetable is fresh pairing to any seafood presentation.

When preparing Marine Plankton for use in a dish, it is best to create a sort of “instant fumet” by mixing it with water or turning it into a seafood or meat based broth. Care must be taken to not heat the mixture as it will rapidly lose its desired characteristics. Heat will also present an undesired texture due to its high density of protein (plankton has 30 times more omega 3s than olive oil). In the preparation of a dish such as risotto, it is best to add in the Marine Plankton mixture once the main dish has been removed from any heat source. Phytoplankton comes freeze dried (lyophilized), so it is preserved and packaged without compromising the quality, flavor, cell structure, or nutritional components in any way. Available in 50 or 250 gram (dried weight) packs, you will find this product as fresh as if you have harvested it yourself.

Try this simple recipe, courtesy of James Beard Award Winning Chef Dan Barber:

SIMPLE PHYTOPLANKTON MAYONNAISE

Chef Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Ingredients

2 whole eggs

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tbsp Phytoplankton

1 Cup grape seed oil

Blend the eggs, lemon juice, salt and plankton on high speed in a vitamix. Reduce the speed of the blender and slowly emulsify oil.