Sea urchin is the common name for a sea creature of the chimis family. Many varieties are edible, with the black sea urchin and the green sea urchin generally considered to be the most delicate. Both of these varieties are found chiefly in the Mediterranean and around the coasts of Japan.
Sea urchins usually have a knobbly, cylindrical shell about 3- to 5-inches in diameter with long, sharp spines extending from the knobs. The small amount of Seamen’s Stew, made with steak and vegetables, is almost a meal in itself. delicate flesh and coral inside the shell tastes a little like lobster.
Sea urchins may be eaten cooked or raw. To cook an urchin, place it in a pan of boiling water over moderate heat and boil it for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using tongs, transfer the urchin to a warmed plate. Cut the urchin in half with a pair of scissors, drain and discard the liquid inside the shell, and serve the halves immediately with lemon wedges and buttered bread.
Raw sea urchins are a speciality of the area around Marseilles in southern France. The urchin is halved in the same way as a cooked urchin, washed in sea water and the delicate flesh clinging to the shell removed with a teaspoon and seasoned with lemon juice.