May 03, 2010

Sea Urchin Pasta

This was my attempt to replicate a dish served at Esca, a terrific New York Southern Italian Trattoria. I wandered into "The Lobster Place" in Chelsea Market and was inspired by fresh sea urchin. All would have been ok had I asked them to open them. Instead I struggled with this task and ended up with as many needles as I did sea urchin "tongues".  After cleaning all that up, I tossed what I had retrieved with spaghettini, cream and chives and it was delicious. You can buy the sea urchin tongues from any good Japanese market. Had I done that, I would have added fresh shiso leaf. Here is an approximate recipe.
16 "tongues" of sea urchin (8 fresh, opened professionally)
1/2 pound spaghettini
1/3 cup heavy cream
Finely cut chives
Optional additions: fish stock, fresh diced tomatoes, slivers of fresh shiso leaf
Salt and pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghettini al dente. Toss with sea urchin, cream and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Next time I'll try to toss the pasta with either some chopped tomatoes or some fish stock and white wine for acidity. The fish stock would add some moisture.