Since Masterchef last year, I’ve been hearing a lot about a particular ingredient, whalefood basically, which is a humble single-celled algae known as marine phytoplankton. Apparently now below of lots of top chefs, the stuff comes as an intensely fine green powder which, along with being absurdly good for you, apparently gives a real marine taste and bright green colour to risottos, soups and sauces.
I did a bit of digging around the internet and decided upon a packet made by the Health Factory, which was about £65 for a 60 gram packet. At this price it’s comparable with some of the costlier kitchen ingredients out there such as saffron and some of the cheaper forms of truffle. Most people take this stuff as a health tonic apparently but the very same powder is what you’d use in the kitchen.
How to Cook with Phytoplankton
So far I’ve experimented with phytoplankton in a number of ways. I made a fantastic vibrant green mayonnaise by simply stirring some in before serving. I tried adding some to bread dough which works fine but it does lose some of its colour and I imagine heating it isn’t great for the nutritional value. On that basis I’m using it mainly as a final dash of flavour, such as sprinkling over fish risotto, or adding to a fish soup just before serving.