Basics: How to Prepare Sea Urchin

Don't let spiky, spiny sea urchin intimidate you

In our Basics series, we tackle the simple kitchen tasks; no job is so small that it doesn't deserve to be done perfectly.

Sea urchin roe, or uni in Japanese, is a delicacy in many coastal areas and is often consumed raw. Urchin's spiny shells can make getting to the luscious yellow-orange roe seem daunting, but a few tips will make you a pro in no time.

  • Wear gloves while you trim off the spines to protect your hands from accidental stings. The gloves will also keep your hands free of the urchin's dark purple dyes.
  • Working mouth-side-up, cut out the top of the shell with regular kitchen scissors, and then carefully pierce the bottom, allowing the fluid to drain out. You'll want to do this over the sink or into a bowl to contain the mess.
  • A quick rinse with fresh water will help clear out some of the undesirable bits. The rest you can pick out with tweezers.
  • Once you've scooped the roe out, serve it raw with butter on toast, or use it in your favorite sea urchin recipe, like our Chilled Sea Urchin & Farro Pasta.