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urchins

Simos

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2009
1,986
123
118
London
I know it can be used with spaghetti, tried it once and it was fantastic mmmmmm
 

Salehthefish

Free Diver
Jul 6, 2008
2,461
156
153
Sharja
I Eat it directly when i take it out from the sea without anything... Never thought it could be cooked... All best
 

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
471
123
53
Central Coast, Chile
I have always eaten them raw, even on the float while spearing, I love them but I had heard of other ways:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukANr18QOyA]Sea Urchin Roe Pasta - Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escape - BBC - YouTube[/ame]

Is the one we tried, it was honestly incredible.

These are ours:

Eating Chilean: Eating Chilean Erizos, Sea Urchins

but unfortunately not in the abundance seen in those u/w photos. Now I can only get them in caves, when the almost permanent south westerly swells die down enough to avoid the washing machine effect.

And yes Sarge, they are said to have "those" properties, ideal for a romantic evening in.
 

spaghetti

Campari Survivor
May 31, 2005
4,669
1,504
353
52
Italy
Naaahh, you're making me hungry now! :eek:

There are basically two favourite ways for enjoying seaurchins in my country.
1) Taken from the sea and eaten raw (if you trust the place not to be significantly polluted) or with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
2) With pasta. Spaghetti or linguine or trenette or bavette are best.

For the urchin pasta dressing:
You will use the orange stuff inside the female urchins.
A part of the urchin meat will be lightly heated with olive oil in a pan, and another part of the urchin meat will be added fresh on the dish at the end of the process. The raw part is the one that really provides the real taste of the sea.
Four phases:
1) The urchin sauce. Drop a thin film of extravirgin olive oil in a pan, with two or three heads of garlic. Light the fire and let it heat (but don't burn the garlic), then drop the urchin meat and let it jump while stirring for a minute, drop 1/4 glass of white wine and let it steam off, then turn off the fire. You may add a little freshly grated black pepper.
2) The pasta: usual water with a fistful of salt, let it boil, drop the pasta, make it cook "al dente" (doesn't have to be overcooked, or it becomes too floppy).
3) The melting. Drop the cooked pasta in teh pan with the oil/urchin emulsion, light fire and let it melt for a minute or two.
4) "La mise en place". Put it in the dish, add the raw urchin meat, a few drops or raw olive oil and, eventually, a little freshly grated lemon zest. Stir gently and enjoy.

And this is the typical italian "spaghetti coi ricci". :p
 

landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
353
181
83
South Africa
That sounds FANTASTIC!

Besides their spines in me on quite a few occasions, I've never had sea urchin.
For sure going to try it this weekend!

Is there a way of telling the male from the female urchins?
 

spaghetti

Campari Survivor
May 31, 2005
4,669
1,504
353
52
Italy
That sounds FANTASTIC!

Besides their spines in me on quite a few occasions, I've never had sea urchin.
For sure going to try it this weekend!

Is there a way of telling the male from the female urchins?

The male has a "total black" look, the female has shades of purple/brownish/blueish colour.

I'm just not sure that the urchins we have in the Mediterranean are the same you have in South Africa (and I don't know if SA urchins are edible).
 

landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
353
181
83
South Africa
The male has a "total black" look, the female has shades of purple/brownish/blueish colour.

I'm just not sure that the urchins we have in the Mediterranean are the same you have in South Africa (and I don't know if SA urchins are edible).

Thanks spaghetti!

Right, so a bit of research showed that SA has some 58 different species of urchin.

The species of urchin I will be targeting is the Cape urchin [Parechinus angulosus] and is in fact edible. It does however not yield the same amount of roe as the Mediterranean urchin [Paracentrotus lividus].

.. so urchin is on the menu this weekend :p
 

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
471
123
53
Central Coast, Chile
Landshark, we have two kinds (probably more, but these are what I see). The black ones with long spines, that we don't eat. And a red/green one with shorter spines that we do. The roe are big and fat, like thumb size or bigger. The taste is strange, sweet, like nothing else I can think of.

We open ours from the top, in the Italian cooking video they are seen to open from the bottom with sheers. We put them base down on something hard, and with the spine of a heavy knife bash the top whilst turning, making about a 60mm circle. This circle eventually pops up and can be lifted out slowly, so as not to break the roe, with fingers. A finger is then pushed back between the row and the shell, lifting each roe out. There are 5. I have been doing it for 5 years now and only just have the hang of it. And stained fingers for a week!

Let us know how yours turn out.
 
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Oldsarge

Deeper Blue Budget Bwana
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 13, 2004
2,789
529
203
73
On the banks of the Willamette
Urchins were a plague on the SoCal coast some years ago, destroying the kelp beds. Then we discovered that the Japanese will seriously pay for live urchins flown out to the home islands. Now we have to manage the harvest! LOL.

I was introduced to urchins when I was about six by some Italian fishermen in San Pedro. They tasted like iodine smells, to me and I haven't run into any since to find out if as an adult I like them. I have to wonder, though, what kind of mind would give urchin roe to a six-year-old and why?:eek:
 

landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
353
181
83
South Africa
Landshark, we have two kinds (probably more, but these are what I see). The black ones with long spines, that we don't eat. And a red/green one with shorter spines that we do. The roe are big and fat, like thumb size or bigger. The taste is strange, sweet, like nothing else I can think of.

We open ours from the top, in the Italian cooking video they are seen to open from the bottom with sheers. We put them base down on something hard, and with the spine of a heavy knife bash the top whilst turning, making about a 60mm circle. This circle eventually pops up and can be lifted out slowly, so as not to break the roe, with fingers. A finger is then pushed back between the row and the shell, lifting each roe out. There are 5. I have been doing it for 5 years now and only just have the hang of it. And stained fingers for a week!

Let us know how yours turn out.

Thanks azapa!

The urchins I'm targeting pretty much max out at 60mm in size, so by the sounds of the it ones you get are quite a bit bigger. Either way, going to give it a bash this weekend.

I will most probably firstly try them raw as the spot we will be diving is some way from cooking amenities.

Will let you know how it went (down) :D
 

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
471
123
53
Central Coast, Chile
Sarge

My kids eat them raw at the ocean side with me when I am coming out of the water.

They will probably be asking the same questions in a few years time :D

they definitely are an "acquired taste". you'll never find anyone that says they are just "ok". You'll only get the lovers or the haters.


......I have to wonder, though, what kind of mind would give urchin roe to a six-year-old and why?:eek:
 

landshark sa

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2011
353
181
83
South Africa
So, I finally got a gap to try some urchins.

Unfortunately it seems not all urchins are created equal, as the South African urchin's gonads seem quite a bit smaller than it's Mediterranean cousins'. (Did I say that!?... sounds very wrong :mute)



I took out a selection of colours, but was only able to harvest about a teaspoon full of roe. I didn't even try to cook it as it was just too little so only had it raw.



I can honestly say I have never tasted anything even remotely like it. The best I can describe it as a smooth slightly sweet sea taste with a alkaline after taste... not bad at all but I wouldn't call it a delicacy. I will however leave my verdict open until I have tried Mediterranean urchin.
 

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ThomasB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2009
231
27
68
italy
Quick one, You can also make crostini/bruschetta with them, on thei own or with some salad.Raw, off course. As to the taste it varies a lot depending on the sea location, I like Italian's but loved the one in Croatia where sea temperature is lower.
In Italy you can see people in the water with a fork, grabbing them opening with the fork and eating them directly.
My two cents.
 

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
471
123
53
Central Coast, Chile
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4tA0lakQ34]This is Chile: Chapter 2, Erizo - YouTube[/ame]

These are "our" urchins. About one "tounge" would seem to be 10 of your complete urchins. Keep trying different species, we have some with hardly any roe also. Ask around some old fishermen, they will know.
 

jon penrith

FreeDiving Professional
Nov 26, 2004
124
7
108
We have some very big ones in both cornwall and in the northe east of england.They seems to be different types as some are purple , while others are orange and some green.From googling it I am unsure whether we have one species here in the UK called the edible sea urchin , or if we have several and if so, are they all edible? I have eaten them in the med but the one I tried to eat here in the UK was not so great,The roe was dark almost brown colour and unappetising.I dont know if this was just a "bad one" or if there are multiple s[pecies here in the UK and their roe would be better? Is there an optimum or bad time to harvest, I presume there must be?
Incidentally the French have purpose made sea urchin cutter opener things(I cant remember the name of them)
 
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