Eating Sea Urchin

How to Eat Raw Sea Urchin!


On this episode of The Hot Skillet, Chef Cristian Feher shows you how to crack open and eat raw, live, sea urchins.

Live sea urchins, like oysters, are considered to be a delicacy in many cultures. The Japanese, Italians and Greeks, prize the roe of the sea urchin, for its uniquely sweet and umami taste. The rest of the urchin is not edible. There are many species of urchins – some with long spines, and some with short spines (as seen here). These sea urchins were purchased live from a seafood supplier in Clearwater, FL and although they were not the freshest and plumpest, the roe was still quite enjoyable.

As with many shellfish, getting ready to eat sea urchin requires two things:

1. Ensure that you purchase them from a seafood store, or harvest them from a legal harvesting zone. If you are unsure whether the urchins you have found are edible or legal to harvest, leave them alone. If you find urchins in the wild that are legal to harvest, you should find a local guide to confirm that they are edible in that area.

2. Make sure they’re alive. You never want to eat dead shellfish, as their proteins can break down into toxins and can make you very sick. You can tell that sea urchins are alive by observing their spines move as you handle them, you can blow air at their mouth to see if the orifice moves, and you can smell them. They should have a pleasant, sweet, ocean smell. If they stink (even if they’re alive) put them back in the ocean or throw them out.

The most popular ways to eat the roe (actually the gonads) of the sea urchin are in sushi, or served plain with fresh lemon juice spritzed over them.