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Sustainability Rating — good

Sea Urchin | Uni | California Gold

While it may be referred to by many names, there is but one sought after goal after cracking the shell. The “roe” or glands are the only goods taken from the urchin. There are five in each urchin and these amount to a few ounces of goodness.

Are urchins safe to eat raw?

Yes. While raw urchin ‘roe’ is served and added to many dishes, it is often preferred to be eaten immediately after they have been cut open.

Recipe: Flying Sea Urchin Pasta

Total time: 20 min
Yield: serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Kate Williams | SeriousEats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound sea urchin roe sacs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon tobiko (flying fish roe) or masago (smelt roe)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 chive flower, separated into blossoms (optional)

Directions

In a blender, combine the sea urchin roe, olive oil, and cayenne pepper and puree.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Just before draining, measure out 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add the butter and stir to thoroughly coat the spaghetti. Add the sea urchin puree and 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and stir over medium heat, adding more pasta water by the tablespoon, using most of it, until the pasta is coated with a creamy sauce. Do not boil. Remove the pot from the heat and taste for salt.

Divide the pasta among 4 bowls, top with tobiko and chives plus chive blossoms, if using, and serve.