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January 19, 2013

Experts' Expert: How to prepare fresh sea urchin


And to think that not all that long ago fishermen in Maine considered sea urchins trash.

Times change.

An August 2, 2008 post on ComingAnarchy.com told how to prepare them; details below.


"Uni Muki — How to prepare sea urchin

During a recent trip to Rebun Island, the northernmost island in Japan after Hokkaido, I had a chance to break open and prepare a sea urchin at a local fishery. The pictures of the experience are posted here for readers to enjoy below.

Sea urchins are a delicacy in Japan. Here is a tub of the spiny creatures waiting to be shipped across the country or otherwise served up for food.


The only edible part of the creature are its orange gonads. Access requires completely destroying the creature, breaking through its spines and hard crusty shell. To split the creature open, three tools are required — a chisel with a lever, a dull scalpel, and tweezers.


First, the chisel is stabbed into the top of the urchin about half an inch.


Then, the lever is pulled and the flat part of the chisel pushes the shell open, splitting the sea urchin in half.


With bare hands the sea urchin is then pulled apart, its spines still wriggling in desperation. I asked a native supervising my experience if I would be hurt by grabbing the spines of this sea urchin which would likely do anything to stop its own destruction. The lady replied, "the only one who is going to be hurt here is that sea urchin."


The dull scalpel is then used to scrape the inside of the sea urchin into a tray, trying to avoid the brown innards and aim for only the orange gonads.


Tweezers are then used to remove remaining bits of the brown innards. The gonads are then washed in salt water and served as is.


Pictured at the top is one popular tourist food — sea urchin served over rice, with wasabi on top (approximately $18 U.S.).


[via my LA correspondent]

January 19, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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neat tool that chisel with a lever - wonder where i could buy one

Posted by: sherlock | Jan 20, 2013 2:36:38 AM

Am I the only one that finds the revelation of this whole process distasteful? The only one hurt here...mwha hahahaha! Besides, I've tried it only once, years ago and well...ew.

Posted by: tamra | Jan 20, 2013 2:22:30 AM

Re: 6.02*10^23

Oh, swoon. I'll have my sushi guru take me to an honorable place where I may indulge.

Posted by: Kay | Jan 19, 2013 7:32:01 PM

Uni/Ikura donburi for me, Kay.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jan 19, 2013 6:13:40 PM

If I were to have a request for my last meal, it would be a plate of Uni, with or without the Quail egg on top.

Posted by: Kay | Jan 19, 2013 6:02:56 PM

"aim for only the orange gonads"

I'm speechless.

Posted by: joepeach | Jan 19, 2013 5:38:00 PM

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