Happy new year! What culinary challenge or goal will you embark on in 2010?
My challenge to you: Kill your own food at least once.
Recently, I acquired some from spiny, briny sea urchins at the fisherman’s wharf in Steveston, B.C. What a treat!
Uni (in Japanese) is one of my favourite nigiri sushi toppings and is a rightful delicacy around the world.
In Florence, Italy, I enjoyed it cooked simply with some tomato in a memorable pasta dish.
Sea urchins are harvested around the Mediterranean, Japan and New Zealand. Luckily for us, the Pacific Northwest’s cool waters also shelter these delicious critters.
The coral or “roe” is creamy and intensely oceany. It has a rich, round flavour that lingers in the palette.
October to May is red sea urchin season. The season for the green variety is shorter, only stretching from November to March. Green urchins’ coral is softer and more delicate in flavour and I was so pleased to get my hands on some *ouch!*
I am a firm believer that we need to look our food in the eyes. Making the choice to consume an animal after feeling it alive demonstrates consciousness and respect. This process causes us to consider where the animal is from and how it lived in order that we may enjoy it.
Initially, I was intimidated and a bit nervous when I brought these jewels home. Their little spines were still waving! I even braced for a squeak when I jabbed the tip of my kitchen shears into its mouth.
I took a deep breath, resisted all squeamishness and cleaned them all. The reward was a plateful of the freshest, most delectable Uni one can taste.
Yes, it gets a bit messy but the results are so worthwhile. Make it your challenge to give it a try this year!
Curious: Have you killed your own food before?
* Sea urchins can stay alive in the fridge for several days in an uncovered bowl.