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Aug 26, 2011 09:13 AM

Culiunary uses for seawater...

From time to time I've heard of the practice of using seawater for various culinary purposes, from restaurants that harvests their own to be used in cooking, to the Japanese preparation of Himono by first cleaning skin-on fillets with seawater before being sun-dried on open racks. And of course the ancient practice of harvesting sea salt by sun-drying (copius amounts) of seawater.

Where I live in San Diego County we have a convenient source of seawater from La Jolla's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, whose pier supplies seawater to their labs and aquarium's tanks. Luckily for local salt-water aquarium hobbyists they also provide a free tap dispensing this seawater that's open to the public, which apparently is sand-filtered down to 100 microns.

Though anecdotes of actually cooking with seawater have been few and far between, the practice has always intrigued me.

Anyone experiment with using seawater in their cooking? How was the result and was it worth the effort? Have you seen any restaurants where they employ seawater in their cooking?

Anyone out there use seawater as a condiment for finishing a dish? (...noting that anyone who eats raw oysters is essentially using seawater as a condiment!)

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  1. In a recent episode of No Reservations, Jose Andres uses seawater in a seafood stew they make. Sounds delicious to me!

    1. We use it to steam shellfish.

      1. The best lobster I've ever had is boiled outdoors in huge kettles in Maine, in sea water.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mcf

          Ive boiled pastas in seawater and it works quite well.

          1. re: FoodExpression

            That's wonderful to hear, as that will likely be one of my first applications, to use it to prepare a seafood-based pasta dish...

            1. re: cgfan

              We did it frequently years ago -- but frankly never noticed it to taste any different than boiling it in salted water.

        2. lobster boils and crab boils frequently use seawater to steam the shellfish.

          1. This recipe from L'Esperance in Vezeley, France, is SO delicious. The oysters are pillowed in seawater jelly, and have a dollop of camembert cream on top.