"Buy the sea urchins!" This
exclamation can be heard every morning at more or less the same time.
When the fishermen are back with their booty. Have you ever tried these
spiny sea animals? If not, Apulia, the "heel of the Italian boot", might
be the perfect place for an introduction. Sea urchins can be found
along the whole of the stunning Puglian coast, and you will hear that
cry everywhere you go.
It is commonly said that fruti di mare
(seafood) are best savoured during the months containing an "r",
therefore mainly in the winter, for freshness. You will however have no
trouble finding sea urchins while on holiday in the summer. It might
even be fun to go and collect some yourself, but be careful not to walk
on them! The spikes breaking into your flesh will be very painful, and
it takes a long time for them to come out. Use thick gloves or tongs to
haul the ricci di mare out of the water, and put them straight into the large bag you will have taken with you.
If you purchase them, the fishmonger will show you how to open the
sea urchins or do it for you. It might be a good idea to learn the
proper way if you are having a go on your own. As the edible part is
nesting on one side only, it would be a shame to destroy it by tackling
the wrong part. Special pliers dedicated to that job exist and you will
get the best results that way, but a pair of sturdy scissors or simply a
sharp knife can also be used for that purpose.
Once open, you will marvel at the delicate orange colour. The
edible part, called the roe, can be rinsed with fresh or salt water
first. You can also skip that part: Just tip the shell to drain it and
start eating with a knife or a spoon. Its foamy consistency is
surprising at first, and then the salty, subtle taste hits your taste
buds. Add a piece of fresh bread to the equation and you will get one
perfect combination of food heaven.
Eating it raw is not to your
taste? Not a problem. Try one of the several existing pasta or risotto
recipes in the comfort of your own kitchen for a special lunch or
Sadly, a new report than ocean
acidification is affecting shell growing in sea creatures, therefore
rendering them more exposed to predator attacks, has now been published.
Which impact will this consequence of climate change have on the marine
food chain, and also on human seafood supply? Will the simple pleasure
described in this article disappear one day?