Test Kitchen tips: Tackling sea urchin


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Sea urchins can be pretty intimidating to the uninitiated (picture a tribble, but covered in sharp, spiky brown needles) but nothing beats the flavor of freshly prepared sea urchin roe, or uni. Believe it or not, sea urchins are not as difficult to tackle as they first appear. Preparing them takes a little time -- and caution -- but it can be done. And the results are well worth the effort.

Use the roe to top sushi, or toss it in at the last minute with a pasta dish. You can even use it to flavor savory custards. Follow the jump for a quick tutorial on preparing sea urchin roe.


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1. With a sharp knife or shears, cut a neat circle out of the shell top (around the mouth) about 3 inches in diameter. Use a towel to protect your hands.

2. Remove the cut-out circle from the shell, using the knife and a spoon.

3. Discard the liquid from inside the shell, and, using a spoon, remove and discard the black parts.

4. Spoon out the clusters of orange roe from inside the shell, keeping them as whole as possible.

5. Reserve the clusters of roe and carefully rinse out the inside of the sea urchin shell.

6. Place crushed ice inside the shell and arrange the clusters of roe on top of the ice.