Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year), hatsuyuki (first snowfall of the year), hatsuyume (first dream of the year), hatsuhinode (first sunrise of the year), hatsu…wakame (first wakame harvest of the year).
Sure, why not?
A neighbour knocked on our door just before 7am Friday morning to give us a bundle of fresh, shiny brown wakame he had just brought from the beach. Wakame season is from January until around March, but the later you get in the season, the tougher the wakame becomes. It’s still good for eating, but not nearly as silky smooth as the first harvest.
Quite often, wakame is dried after being boiled green, and used throughout the year in soups, salads, and all sorts of other dishes. Drying the new stuff, however, well, our neighbour bristled at the idea. No—hatsuwakame is for eating fresh.
This bowlful got the shabu-shabu treatment, meaning after being washed and cut, it was dipped in a pot of boiling water and swished back and forth with chopsticks. We also added some thinly sliced pork into the mix, and dipped both pork and wakame into ajipon, a salty-sour sauce.
You’d never guess from the photo of wet, brown seaweed, but it was delicious.