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Linguine With Sea Urchin and CaviarFeb 07, 2012

What's so gross about sea urchin? Even some of the most adventurous eaters I know will make the most horrific faces when the topic comes up.

I asked my husband who generally recoils when I suggest that we share a pair of nigiri at the sushi bar, and he offered that it's a textural thing. Some people say it resembles phlegm (or worse), and I heard one person characterize the briny bits as "little orange tongues" (although, let's face it: the truth of what uni is may actually be harder to stomach!). But a lot of these same people will tell me that the flavor doesn't bother them; in fact, they find it quite pleasant.

So when my BFF told me about a sea urchin pasta she makes for dinner parties, I found a way to sneak uni back into the palettes of the unsuspecting (just a word of caution to anyone who's invited to my house for dinner). This recipe is based upon Eric Ripert's On the Line which means that it is insanely decadent, topping a first course-size portion of sea urchin linguine with Iranian osetra caviar. My girlfriend uses ikura (salmon roe) which also provides a nice, salty punch to the velvety sauce at a much more reasonable price (my nearby Japanese market sells it for $2 per ounce versus $200 for the osetra). I managed to find an ounce of domestic Hackleback caviar for $50, and it was plenty for four servings. And my uni-shy husband? He licked his bowl clean.

Linguine With Sea Urchin and Caviar

Adapted from On the Line by Eric Ripert

Serves 4.


  • One 2-ounce tray of sea urchin
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper powder
  • 4 oz. dried linguine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz. American Hackleback sturgeon caviar


  1. For the sea urchin sauce, puree the sea urchin roe in a blender. Pass it through a fine-mesh sieve, and return to the blender. Blend the puree with the softened butter.
  2. To finish the sauce, bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Gradually whisk in the sea urchin butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Do not overcook (butter will begin to separate). Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  3. When ready to serve, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.
  4. Put the chives in a medium stainless steel bowl, add the warmed sauce and Parmesan cheese, and mix well. Season with salt and white pepper if necessary. Gently toss the pasta with the sauce.
  5. To serve, use a meat fork to twirl one-quarter of the pasta and mound it in the center of a small bowl. Repeat three times. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the sauce remaining in the stainless steel bowl around each mound. Place 1-1/2 teaspoons of the caviar on top of each mound of pasta and garnish with additional chives if desired. Serve immediately.
  1. osham's picture osham reblogged this to In My Belly and added:
    i wish this was in my belly.
posted by

looks amazing. i would love to try it, and i am not sea urchin shy. :)

posted by

Love, love, LOVE this! Can't wait to try it!

posted by

I am also very very wary of uni, but I would trust you enough to try this. It looks delicious, at least.

posted by

Amazing, decadent and a MUST TRY!

posted by

i haven't eaten sea urchin before, but i always have thought it must be such a delicacy ^^

posted by

Uni is a little scary to look at when it's in its natural state, but when you puree it in the sauce, it just looks like butternut squash soup! :-) And it has such a wonderful flavor: I suppose it's a little like oysters in that it just tastes like the sea. This recipe is super easy to make, so I highly recommend giving it a try! Have fun!!

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