I love sea urchin, and I talk about it a lot. Mostly in relation to sushi, but the Japanese are not the only ones who eat uni. Sea urchin is also loved and commonly eaten by Greeks and Italians. I love the sweet, creamy taste of uni from Santa Barbara, or the brinier-tasting type from the East Coast. But really there’s no sea urchin I won’t try, whether it’s Russian, Japanese, Chilean or Korean.
Lately, I’ve been indulging quite a bit, as Citarella sells the thorny creatures from Maine through the winter months for $5.99/lb — the season’s almost over, so go quick! I usually buy two and ask them to clean them (open them and get rid of the viscera and other matters around the yellow/orange “meat” that is actually the gonads), for a bargain at around $3.
I scoop out these precious babies (five strips in one sea urchin) into a bowl, add olive oil and lemon juice, and eat them with country bread as an appetizer. I learned this from the Greeks, but there’s a million ways to enjoy these briny little pieces of joy. Let us know how you like to eat your sea urchin!