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179 Mechanic Street
Stonington, CT, 06379
United States


Mechanic Street Marina is a veteran owned and operated marina located in Pawcatuck, CT on the Pawcatuck River. Mechanic Street offers 25 slip rentals each season (May-Oct) winter storage,and Kayak/SUP rentals

Stonington Kelp Co

The Umami Effect...

James Douglas


Recently, we had a few friends over for dinner. I was making spaghetti and quinoa balls and a Cesar salad. I don't eat meat but I do eat fish (the local stuff that we can catch ourselves up here)...but my friend Lauren is a strict vegetarian. I wanted to make the salad but wanted to make sure she could eat it because I am nice like that.

The anchovies that typically go in Cesar dressing needed to be replaced. I figured that the amazing umami flavor of kelp may be an acceptable stand-in for my non-fish eating friend. I consulted google and found a few vegan recipes for Cesar dressing - since Lauren eats cheese I slipped in some dairy - and the result was pretty amazing.  It was incredible what this Umami flavor can do - it opened up a whole new world for me. The dried kelp flakes basically add that special, uniquley savory, taste to your meals without using any animal based products - and frankly without using anything that is bad for the planet (considering that kelp is zero-input farming, uses no fresh water, no land, requires no fertilizer etc). I also am noticing that in certain dishes, the kelp flakes replace the need to use salt which is good for me and the fam.

I also made some homemade croutons with old hot dog rolls that were about to get tossed. I  made a mixture of  olive oil, fresh garlic, salt/pepper, and kelp flakes and drizzled it over the torn pieces of bread then baked them until they were crispy and brown (about 20 minutes at 375).

Lauren keeps asking me to share the recipe so I am and I hope you like it!

  • 1/4 cup oil.
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese crumbled really well (I used the pre-crumbled kind)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice.
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar.
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard.
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes (pictured above)
  • pepper to taste