Known in Spain under the name of “el chef del mar” or “the chief of the sea”, Ãngel LeÃ³n had encountered the herbaria known under the name of Zostera marina countless times during his life, but in 2017 (the same year he won his third Michelin star at his restaurant, Aponiente), he decided to examine how it could be used in the culinary world. Unsurprisingly perhaps, he discovered that an indigenous group, the Seri people, originally from the Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico, had long based much of their diet on Zostera marina, “a clutch of tiny green grains clinging to the base of the eelgrass.” Renowned for his clever and creative use of seafood, “making chorizos from discarded pieces of fish and serving sea-grown versions of tomatoes and pears in his restaurant,” LeÃ³n was determined to add it to his. menu one way or another. With the aim of serving “all that has no value in the sea” and to introduce more people to “understand the sea as a garden”, LeÃ³n and his team continue to test it in different ways, from grinding to flour when baking as rice. Ultimately, they hope their research and testing will harness “the plant’s potential to stimulate aquatic ecosystems, feed people and fight the climate crisis.” He says: âIn the end, it’s like everything. If you respect the areas of the sea where this grain is grown, it would ensure that humans take care of it. It means humans would defend it. Learn more about The Guardian.
Image courtesy of Ãlvaro FernÃ¡ndez Prieto / Aponiente