I comment on the role that grazers play in controlling algal biomass in rivers in these posts and this is the time of year when I, myself, take a more participatory role. As it is spring, Lemanea fluviatilis is thriving in our rivers (the cleaner ones, at least) and I could not resist grabbing a couple of handfuls whilst out in the field recently for culinary purposes.
This time, I followed the routine I described in “More from the Lemanea cookbook … ” and washed, air-dried and then cut-up some Lemanea filaments into short lengths (they need to be about a centimetre long, otherwise they can form clumps). My experience is that the fishy taste of Lemanea is a fine complement to freshwater fish, so decided to use it in a warm potato salad which I then served underneath a salmon fillet seasoned and sprinkled with dill and then wrapped in foil and baked with a couple of knobs of butter.
The warm potato salad needs a mayonnaise made from one egg yolk and about 150 ml of olive oil into which a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice are stirred, along with salt and pepper. Add a generous handful of dried Lemanea to this and leave to soften for about 20 minutes, and also add a teaspoon of capers and a small handful of land (or water) cress. Cook and drain enough new potatoes for two, then cut these into small chunks and stir the mayonnaise and algae mixture into these. Divide between two warmed bowls and place half the salmon fillet on top of each. Finally, add a few fresh pea shoots as a garnish, along with a wedge of lemon, and serve.
Definitely worth repeating.
Warm potato salad with lemon and Lemanea, served with salmon fillets.