This recipe showcases the unique flavour of sea urchin in a creamy, satisfying risotto. This sea urchin risotto combines simple ingredients that enhance and complement the delicate flavour of the sea urchin without overpowering it.
The first time I tried sea urchin, it was unlike anything I had ever tasted. It tasted like the ocean breeze on a hot summer day; like the surf as it hits your face when you’re on a pier or a boat on a stormy day. It tastes like lazy holidays on the beach, the sand and salty seawater spraying your eyes and lips. I believe it’s the most romantic, evocative flavour I have ever experienced to date. It took me back to some of the best memories of my life: in Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand. I can only describe it using similes and metaphors; it is elusive and unlike anything I have ever tasted.
When you eat sea urchin you actually eat the gonads or sex organs of the animal, but then those are just details. Make sure to buy it fresh or even alive from the fishmonger and to have it cleaned. It’s spiky and messy to clean it yourself, but if you want to try, go right ahead!
This recipe doesn’t contain strong spices or garlic, in fact it contains very few, simple ingredients to avoid overpowering the sea urchin flavour. The sea urchin is the star of this dish, make no mistake. If you don’t like sea urchin or seafood, this is probably not for you. But, if you want a dish that brings back memories of the sea in all its different manifestations, then read on.
- Half a cup of mashed, fresh, cleaned sea urchin (uni)
- One cup Arborio rice
- Two cups chicken or turkey stock or plain water plus more as needed
- Half a sweet, mild onion
- Half a grated carrot
- One cup fresh oyster mushrooms
- One tablespoon butter
- Two tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the onions and sauté until translucent and slightly browned.
- Add in the carrot and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for three or four minutes, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms and carrots have softened.
- Add in the Arborio rice and mix thoroughly to coat the rice in butter and oil, and sauté it for a couple of minutes.
- Pour one cup of stock into the mixture while stirring constantly. Once it is absorbed, add another cup gradually. Add more liquid very gradually while stirring until the rice starts to soften.
- Add in the sea urchin and continue cooking while stirring constantly for another 5 minutes or until the rice is creamy and cooked all the way through, but the grains still maintain their shape. Do not leave it unattended!
- To serve, ladle some risotto onto a plate, garnish with some extra grated carrots and a little fresh sea urchin. Enjoy!
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