Enjoying Sea Urchins Throughout the World!

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In these cold times, a splash of summertime may brighten up your day or bring you memories of a vacation spent on the seaside. In this blog post we are presenting one of the most famous delicacies that lie hidden under the sea. They are the sea urchins, which are in this region called “ježine” [jɛʒinɛ].

On the first sight for the ones that are not accustomed to them, these creatures are not so pleasant. They have spikes all over their body and they present a danger when entering the sea. They live under the sea level along the rocky coastline (but, they can rarely be found on the pebble beaches). There are male and female sea urchins, and they can easily be distinguished because of their colour: males are always black, while the females have different colours: purple, brown, orange… And, it’s the female sea urchins that we’re going to have a look at in here.

The sea urchins, especially female sea urchins, are a specialty known all over the world. In France, every February for the last forty years, a very popular and joyful celebration of the sea urchin called Les Oursinades takes place in Carry-le-Rouet, near Marseille (pictures above and below).

Over there, this is the period in which is allowed to pick the sea urchins (done by the professional divers). The urchins are mostly eaten raw, with very little relish or dressing. Other seafood, such as oysters and fish are also offered. This feast takes place in the port of Carry-le-Rouet, along with the other activities of the official programme. For those that are not fancy about them, there are also other local specialties. Check out the video (titles are in French):

The sea urchins are almost always eaten raw (and a bit flavored with lemon), but there are many other ways that sea urchins are being prepared throughout the globe. For example, in this video a French cook fills sliced sea urchins with quail eggs yolk and then fries them in the oven :

Quail eggs might be hard to find, but we’re going to present an interesting alternative. A famous British cook, Rick Stein, in this video describes a somewhat simpler recipe he came across in Italia and he states that it is one of his top 5 Mediterranean recipes:

Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? So, no matter how you enjoy them, it’s sure one of the best food on the planet!

References and for further reading:

http://www.mairie-carrylerouet.fr/
http://www.superstock.com/stock-photos-images/1792-118752