Most memories of sea urchins are not pleasant. At best, they simply deter you from venturing out into the sea. At worst, tears, screams, and a few gnashed teeth among those unlucky enough to step on one.
Easily, they’re among the most despised sea creatures you’ll find in our not-so-deep waters. When they’re on your lunch or dinner plate, though, things are different…
That’s right, we eat sea urchins in select corners of the Caribbean! The spiny treats are a particularly rare gourmet delicacy in Martinique owing, in part, to the exceptionally brief periods when they can legally be harvested.
Sea urchin (oursin) season comes just twice each year here, and can last as little as two days each time ensuring the continued survival of the species.
For those who may be a little squeamish about trying a taste, acras d’oursin present an easy entrée to this most exotic seafood.
As noted previously in this post on codfish acras, these fried and fluffy treats are an excellent appetizer for virtually any meal. With oursin replacing the codfish, the taste experience is decidedly more on the uncommon side. Here’s how you make it…
Before You Do Anything…
Soak your oursin uni (the sea urchin’s yellowish-orange gonads) in the juice of two fresh-squeezed limes, salt, pepper, garlic, and a touch of scotch bonnet pepper for 30 minutes. You’ll need between 200 and 250 grams of uni for this recipe.
To Make The Batter
Combine one cup of flour; 1-1/3 cups of milk; salt, black pepper, and garlic to taste; one scallion, two chives, 1/3 scotch bonnet chile, two grams of baking soda, and a bit of cut parsley.
Adding Your Oursin To The Batter
Fish out the oursin from the mix you had it soaking in and mix it delicately into the batter.
Take A Break
Let your oursin batter sit for three hours.
Time To Fry
Heat corn or peanut oil to 350ºF in a fryer or frying pan. Drop the batter by the teaspoonful into the heated oil and fry until the acras are light brown. Then remove and drain on paper towel.
Voilà et bon appétit
*Photo credit: Flickr user Satu T. & Markus R.