An ashed stump of manzanita serves as a holder for these laver chips, a take on the Korean seaweed snacks that I was introduced to by sous chefs Kat and John. When laid on a white cloth, this striking serving piece is at once natural, elegant, and muscular.
- 90 grams | 3 ounces dried sea lettuce
- 285 grams | 1 ½ cups black rice
- 1 .5 kilograms | 6 ⅔ cups water
- 75 grams | ⅔ cup tapioca starch
- kosher salt
- grapeseed oil, for deep-frying
- Place the sea lettuce in a blender and mix on high speed for about 1 ½ minutes, until reduced to a powder. Set the powder aside. Put the black rice and 900 grams (about 4 cups) of the water in a shallow saucepan with a lid, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to a low simmer and cook for 25 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. While the rice is cooking, combine the tapioca starch and 150 grams (⅔ cup) of the water in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula. Boil for 1 minute, then cover and remove from the heat.
- When the rice is ready, transfer to a blender along with the remaining 450 grams (about 2 cups) of water. Mix on high speed for 3 minutes, until smooth. Add the tapioca gel and continue mixing for about 1 minute, until completely homogenous. Add the sea lettuce powder and mix on high speed for 10 seconds to combine. Measure 250 grams (about ¾ cup) of the blended base, then spread it on full-size silicone baking mats 1/16 inch (2 millimeters) thick. Place the mats in an area with an ambient temperature of 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C) for at least 12 hours, until fully dried.
- Pour the oil to a depth of 4 inches (10 centimeters) into a deep fryer or deep, heavy pot and heat to 375°F (190°C). Break the dried laver into 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) squares. Working in batches, add the squares to the hot oil and fry for 8 seconds, until doubled in size. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season on both sides with kosher salt. Store in an airtight container with silica gel packets at room temperature.