Bite-Sized Guide: Portland, Maine

Recipe: Seaweed Butter

Image Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

It's hard to improve on the classic combination of bread and butter. But when you add dried seaweed (yes, seaweed!) to the butter, it turns the simple ingredient into a salty umami bomb you'll want to munch on any time of day.

This recipe comes to us from Chef Ben Jackson over at Drifters Wife in Portland, Maine. The cozy wine bar, known for its natural wine selection, features an inventive menu of small plates that changes nightly. One dish in particular that caught our attention was their bread and butter. That's because it's not just any bread and butter — it's bread and butter 2.0, thanks to local sourdough and house-made dulse butter.

Image Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

The Most Surprising Way to Flavor Your Butter

Dulse, a seaweed that's harvested locally in Portland, is the key to Drifters Wife's surprising compound butter. For those who don't have access to Maine's coastline, don't fret — you can find dulse at Whole Foods and health food stores.

The seaweed is dried, crumbled, and folded into softened butter, and adds a salty, almost bacon-like flavor. Best enjoyed on nothing but a slice of good sourdough, it's a simple snack that's far from ordinary. Beyond bread, it wouldn't be out of place tossed with pasta or roasted vegetables, either. Anywhere you want to add a kick of umami richness, this butter is ready and waiting for you.

Get our favorite brand: Dulse Flakes from Maine

Seaweed Butter

Makes about 1 cup

1/4 ounce dulse seaweed (about 1/3 cup, lightly packed)
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and at room temperature
Slices of sourdough bread, for serving

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 225°F.

Spread the dulse out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until dry and crisp, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process into fine, crumb-sized pieces, but not total dust.

Add the butter and process until completely mixed in with the dulse, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

The dulse butter can be used immediately or placed in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to firm up a bit first. Enjoy it spread on slices of sourdough bread as an appetizer or snack.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Store leftover butter in the refrigerator in a covered dish or ramekin, or spooned onto plastic wrap or parchment paper and rolled into a log. When kept in the fridge, the butter is best when eaten within 1 week; it can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Where to find dulse: Dulse is a seaweed that looks a bit like red lettuce and grows in the wild, on the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines. It is available at health food stores and Whole Foods, as well as online.
Outbrain