— -- Scientists may have found the Holy Grail of seafood: seaweed that tastes like bacon.
The type of seaweed, called dulse, tastes like the fatty, greasy meat when fried, except it's much healthier, according to researchers at Oregon State University.
"Dulse is very healthy for you. It has fairly high protein content, about 16 percent, and it has very good mineral composition, trace mineral composition, a lot of iodine, antioxidants and polyphenols,” Chris Langdon, professor of fisheries at OSU, told ABC News today.
Business professor Chuck Toombs said he got the idea to commercially produce dulse when he arrived at OSU about a year and a half ago.
"Chris made a comment to me, about how the last time he was in Whole Foods he found this dry version of dulse for $60 a pound, so my marketing tentacles got up,” Toombs said.
Working with Michael Morrissey, director and professor of the OSU food innovation center, the team began experimenting with about 30 different dulse-based products. Morrissey said the two most successful items were a salad dressing and rice crackers.
“We’re bringing those into the next stage of commercialization this fall. We produce the product, and we’ve been talking with a local retailer, who will put them on the shelf,” Morrissey said.
The trio has been working with Oregon chefs such as Vitaly Paley to popularize dulse in the area, and it seems to be working.
“The tuna poke is one of our most popular dishes, and we put dulse into every serving,” Paley said.