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Test Kitchen tips: Tackling sea urchin

February 27, 2012 |  8:00 am

Preparing sea urchin can be intimidating but is fairly simple
Sea urchins can be pretty intimidating to the uninitiated (picture a tribble, but covered in sharp, spiky brown needles) but nothing beats the flavor of freshly prepared sea urchin roe, or uni. Believe it or not, sea urchins are not as difficult to tackle as they first appear. Preparing them takes a little time -- and caution -- but it can be done. And the results are well worth the effort.

Use the roe to top sushi, or toss it in at the last minute with a pasta dish. You can even use it to flavor savory custards. Follow the jump for a quick tutorial on preparing sea urchin roe.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.com.


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Step 1: Cut open the top
1. With a sharp knife or shears, cut a neat circle out of the shell top (around the mouth) about 3 inches in diameter. Use a towel to protect your hands.

Step 2: Remove the cut portion
2. Remove the cut-out circle from the shell, using the knife and a spoon.

Step 3: Clean
3. Discard the liquid from inside the shell, and, using a spoon, remove and discard the black parts.

Step 4: Remove the roe
4. Spoon out the clusters of orange roe from inside the shell, keeping them as whole as possible.

Step 5: Reserve the roe and rinse the shell
5. Reserve the clusters of roe and carefully rinse out the inside of the sea urchin shell.

Step 6: Urchin on ice
6. Place crushed ice inside the shell and arrange the clusters of roe on top of the ice.