by Karen Shimizu
Hundreds of kinds of edible seaweed are harvested in Japan; the ones referred to as nori are from a family of red algae called porphyra. These are the most commonly used in Japanese kitchens.
This nori is the most common style, available at supermarkets the world over. The crisp, toasted sheets are used for everything from making sushi rolls to crumbling over pasta. It's also the star ingredient in tsukudani, or pickled nori (see Pickled Nori). The best versions are smooth in texture with a uniform, dark green color and a lightly smoky and briny flavor; splotchy, reddish, and pale green sheets indicate lesser quality. It's best to keep yakinori in an airtight container or plastic bag to preserve its crispness. To achieve the ideal texture, retoast each sheet for a few seconds over an open flame before using.