Whore’s Eggs

Sea Urchin Appetizer

I’m currently in San Francisco visiting friends and being a tourist.  Last night we had dinner at Anchor & Hope, an out-of-the-way gem that my beer-savvy friend recommended (based primarily on their stellar draft selections*).

We decided to share a few appetizers, and since this was my cheat meal, I was happy to oblige.  The cornmeal-fried artichokes were lovely, and the calamari rings were perfect.  But the really interesting choice was the Sea Urchin.

I had never tried urchin before.  It’s always kind of freaked me out, to be honest, especially because only a small part of the animal — the ovaries, no less — is edible.  Unlike at a sushi restaurant where it’ll be served raw, this one came with crab legs and a bechamel sauce.  In a word, it was decadent.

Wondering if I should feel guilty about last night’s binge, I just looked up Urchin on Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list — and was happy to find that Canadian-caught urchin is a “Best Choice,” and California-caught is a “Good Alternative.”   They say to avoid urchin from Maine, however.

Speaking of which, apparently over in Maine they call urchin “Whore’s Eggs.”  Real classy, Maine.  Real classy.

Have you had urchin before?  What do you think:  Delicious or Disgusting?

* Sean says their bottle list is “pretty awesome, too.”

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

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August 31, 2010 11:36 pm

Whoa! You should save up some money then 🙂

August 31, 2010 9:13 am

Yes of course! You’re very welcome! Come during summer though since it’s sunny and wonderful weather to eat on the beach 😀

August 31, 2010 7:56 am

Yes of course, in fact I’ve swapped to wholewheat just recently! 🙂 No, in Malta there’s no risk of over fishing (as far as i know) but one can buy the stuff inside the sea urchin from any fish shop here. 🙂

August 30, 2010 12:34 pm

I’m a Maltese citizen and sea urchins are very common on the island. After we snorkel for them and pick them up (they don’t sting or anything), we crack them open and serve them. Sea urchins can either be served on bread or (my fave) with pasta. My recipe is this:
Fry an onion, add some garlic and tomatoes, add some basil and mint and finally the sea urchins. Season. Serve with spaghetti.

I guess most people are disgusted by its texture but if cooked you won’t feel the texture and the taste is excellent!

August 4, 2010 12:47 pm

I’m not a big fan of sea urchin but I’ve never had it cooked. It looks really good!

August 3, 2010 9:07 pm

It’s one of those things, if it’s good it’s good, If it’s bad it’s BAD!! Good stuff tastes like butter!!! Yum!!

August 3, 2010 6:41 pm

Sounds good. I’ve had the sushi version with quail egg, quite tasty.

August 3, 2010 6:35 pm

I think I’d want to avoid “whores’ eggs” too. G*d only knows where they’ve been!
And I bet lots of things go down easier with crab claws and bechemel.
Bravo for trying something new! I’ll pass, thanks. But I do love the presentation!

John V
August 3, 2010 6:33 pm

I tried urchin at a sushi restaurant in Monterey back in May. I had resisted it for years because I watched a friend try it about 5 years back, and almost throw up. His best description was that it tasted like the rocks at MDR smell.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised, it was light, sweet, and creamy. I don’t think it will be a regular thing for me, but on occasion (and at a good restaurant) I’ll order it again.

August 3, 2010 6:32 pm

LOVE sea urchin! that looks delicious!