This Is The Best Way To Eat Sea Urchin

There are many strange foods and unique taste sensations out there, but few of them can match the sheer strangeness of the sea urchin. This strange, round, spiny sea creature may seem like the last thing you'd want to put in your mouth, but it's actually a pretty clear case of "those who dare, win." 

As Food & Wine tells us, the sea urchin's hostile frame hides a truly delicious prize – its reproductive organs, known as uni. These five strips of edible meat are often erroneously called "sea urchin roe," and for those who like the intensely sea-like taste, they're a great delicacy. It doesn't exactly hurt the sea urchin's image that it also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac and that it's thought to have many health benefits. Unfortunately, the sea urchins are fairly difficult to get and labor-intensive to clean, so they're not cheap. Even so, J.J. Proville of StarChefs says that the food is incredibly worth it. "Once actually on the tongue, it turns into a soft, pillowy sensation that gradually disappears, leaving behind what is to many chefs the ultimate expression of the ocean in a solid ingredient," the writer describes the sensation of tasting uni.

Does that sound irresistible? Great! Now, all you need to know is how to actually eat the thing. Let's take a look at the best way to eat sea urchin.

Eat your sea urchin as fresh as possible

According to Travel Gluttons, there are all sorts of delicious sea urchin dishes out there, but since the hero ingredient's own taste is incredibly complex and subtle, it should generally be served with things that are fairly neutral themselves. 

As such, arguably the best way to experience a sea urchin is eating it raw, and as fresh as humanly possible.  The five vividly orange uni pieces should be carefully separated from the interior of the urchin's shell while avoiding the liquid and the black bits, which aren't edible. Interestingly, what you're about to taste isn't what all sea urchins taste like. There are 18 edible types of sea urchins around the world, all of which have differences in the flavor, texture, and even color of the uniHowever, they all have one thing in common – if your delicacy tastes fishy instead of oceany, it might have gone off, and you're better off not finishing your meal.

If you don't want to eat your sea urchin by itself, or just want to compliment it with other ingredients, lemon juice and butter are both nice additions. Pasta also works and is served with sea urchin in the Mediterranean area. However, the most obvious sea urchin meal idea, sushi, is probably best left unordered - simply because it might not feature the freshest possible sea urchin.