Sea urchins are real long-livers and are considered the elixir of youth in many countries. Believe it or not, it is a controversial issue since there have been no authoritative studies on the relationship between life expectancy and the frequency of eating sea urchins. The composition of sea urchins’ roe is impressive: it contains almost all vitamins, a huge amount of micro-and macroelements — calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, phosphorus, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as amino acids.
To fully understand a sea urchin’s taste, you need to choose the food and drinks that go well with them.
What goes well with sea urchin? Sea urchin is eaten as is, without any food, though raw yolk can be added to sea urchin to emphasizes its taste. Citrus, mango and chili also go well with sea urchins, giving it a brighter flavor. As for the drinks, champagne and sake go well with sea urchins. The classic drink for sea urchins is white wine such as Muscadet or Chablis.
Sea Urchin Serving Guide: What to Eat and Drink with Sea Urchins?
How do you eat sea urchins? Ideally, you need to eat sea urchin roe with a dessert spoon directly from its own shell, opened by a skilled chef. Ice white wine, preferably with a fruity tint, is an ideal sea urchin pairing.
When serving a sea urchin, you need to pay attention to its color, smell and appearance. The needles of a properly stored and opened sea urchin do not stick out in different directions, but on the contrary, they adhere to the body and, ideally, move slightly. Fresh sea urchin roe is pumpkin-orange, medium-grained (texture reminiscent of papaya), and its pure milky-water aroma is reminiscent of oysters but more iodine.
Sea urchin roe is a delicacy and is best eaten on its own and enjoyed. Its subtle taste reminds of oysters with meaty notes to some – a sweetish scallop with a taste of ripe papaya.
Sea urchins are most often eaten as is, but some chefs advise adding some sauces to brighten the taste. Chefs like adding ponzu sauce, which is a light Japanese sauce based on citrus fruits, soy sauce and rice wine. Citrus fruits generally go well with sea urchins. Sweet lemons, tangerines, orange, a couple of drops of yuzu juice will go great with sea urchins.
You can make sea urchin roe tartare with fresh cucumber. Raw egg yolk also goes well with the sea urchin as they have a certain similarity in taste, and the egg goes with the fresh, iodine taste of the sea urchin.
Sea urchin roe is often added to the pasta. For example, you can cook spaghetti del Mare, and before serving, add aromatic, sea-flavored orange sea urchin roe. You can also put sea urchin roe in a glass of sake and immediately drink it. Or serve canapes made from a wedge of fresh apple or cucumber with uni roe on top to a glass of champagne — simple and elegant.
Sea urchin roe is recognized as the most beneficial ingredient in the body of this seafood delicacy. It contains nutrients, amino acids, useful minerals. It has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and helps to normalize a person’s blood pressure.
Sea urchin row should be eaten raw. It can be sprinkled with lime juice before eating. In some situations, sea urchin has a pronounced iodine flavor that spoils the dish’s overall impression. To remove this smell from roe, add 2-3 teaspoons of liquor, then mix everything.
You will need 70-120 grams of sea urchin roe per person, depending on your appetite. Some Japanese restaurants serve sashimi-style sea urchin roe, which is raw but completely ready to eat, sometimes flavored with savory sauces. The only difference with the usual way of enjoying a delicacy is that you don’t have to extract the treat from the shell yourself.
How do you open sea urchins? Sea urchins are opened with scissors, special forceps, knives, special nippers, tweezers. The flat part of the shell is cut off, with a mouth opening, from the middle to the edge. The eggs are in the lower part, represented by 5 orange or yellow gonads attached to the wall. The cup with caviar is washed, the intestines are removed. Carefully separate the caviar from the shell and put on a plate. Freshly caught sea urchin caviar can be eaten raw.
Can you cook sea urchins? You should not cook sea urchins and subject them to heat treatment, as it will destroy the delicate taste and elastic texture of the sea urchin’s roe. That is why sea urchins are most often served raw as an aperitif before serving hot dishes. In European countries, sea urchin’s roe is also used as a delicate sauce for fresh pasta or omelet-soufflé, in Asian — as an exquisite topping for rolls.
Are sea urchins alive when you eat them? Sea urchins can be served alive in restaurants. Since sea urchins are most often eaten raw, you might get a sea urchin that is still alive. But it is good since alive sea urchins are fresh and will taste better. Alive sea urchins have a very delicate texture and a bright flavor that reminds oysters. Sea urchins are perishable by definition: they are very sensitive to changes in salinity and water composition.
Sea Urchin Wine Pairing Guide
What drinks go well with sea urchins? White wine and champagne go best with sea urchins. Sea urchins are always eaten at the beginning of the evening—order champagne blanc de blanc from Champagne, Franciacorta or prosecco sparkling wine. You can also drink sake with sea urchins.
The sea urchin contains a record amount of nutrients that have a beneficial effect on health. The most delicate roe of this rare delicacy is rightfully considered a real elixir of youth and has a pronounced sea (iodine) taste. A pair of sea urchins should be matched with light in texture, bright in taste and aroma, with high acidity wines with pronounced minerality. The white wine of the Loire Valley from grapes Folle blanc, chardonnay from Burgundy and, of course, champagne will go best with sea urchins.
You should not follow some strict rules for eating sea urchins with wine. In this case, a wide range of light white wines with good acidity are suitable: from the classic Chablis to the trendy German Rieslings. The only thing I would recommend avoiding is more complex wines with a long aftertaste. This is when the simpler, the better, since the rich iodine hue of sea urchins can overpower the true taste of the drink.