Innovative sustainable food source: marine plancton

Not quite an innovation I suppose, more of an gutsy idea that hopefully will run into the future. At Veta la Palma, a vast fish farm inside Spain’s Doñana National Park, is producing a new taste for the sea.

This new product – marine plancton – is an intense green single cell organism that is being seen as a future of flavouring.

Plancton Marino is a novel food ingredient, with the authentic taste of the “origin of the sea”

As described by the company:

“Plancton Marino is a novel food ingredient, with the authentic taste of the “origin of the sea”. The set of microalgae that make up phytoplankton were among the first organisms to inhabit our planet. These beings enrich our atmosphere with oxygen and are part of the feeding of animals and other sea plants such as algae.

Plancton Marino is the base of the food chain. They serve as food to the zooplankton that later feeds fish and crustaceans. Phytoplankton is the origin of the trophic chain, that is, the primary producer of the marine environment.

The scientific study of phytoplankton has shown its high nutritional value and the great possibilities that its use in the kitchen can offer. A finding that leads to Phytoplankton Marino SL to its production, imitating the conditions of the sea.”

Jorge Vicente has been a chef for five years and have been working with the plancton for the past six months, says he loves the idea of an ingredient with a good sustainable and eco-friendly philosophy.

Chef Jorge Vicente demonstrates how to prepare plancton for cooking.

These small algea is of the Tetramilceschuii species and while growth is natural in the wild, can be lab grown in sterilised water and clean sea water under natural conditions. During the processing water is reduced over four months until the algea is concentrated enough for freeze drying.

Salmorejo, a cold tomato soup, and croquettes, both slightly flavoured with marine plancton!

We dine with Jorge at Sanbers restaurant in Seville, and as he explained his passion in experimenting with plancton as an ingredient, we were treated to a series of courses from soups to salads that used plancton as a flavour.

Shrimp pancakes
Shrimp pancakes, flavoured and coloured by plancton!

We dined on Andalucian specialty – Salmorejo – a refreshing cold tomato soup with drizzles of plancton over the top; Croquettes of spinach, pine nuts and goats cheese, also flavoured with plancton; Moroccan chicken pie, not flavoured with plancton but absolutely delicious and another specialty of the region in Spain; shrimp pancakes flavoured and coloured green with plancton (and some of those delicious local shrimps from Veta la Palma, a sustainable fish farm in the Donana National Park); and finally delicious octopus cerviche with avocados and mangoes, and of course, plancton!

Seafood soup, flavoured with plancton.

Intense seaweed. Delicious.

If you are in Seville, try these dishes at Sanbers, Av. de Alemania. +34 955 46 36 48

More information on marino plancton: www.planctonmarino.com

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