Garlic Uni Butter Recipe: The Urchin Upgrade
By: Zach Diamond
One of the greatest perks of staying in Lima, Peru was the ease of access to fresh caught sea urchin, or erizos de mar in Spanish. Harvested commonly down the coast of Peru, whole and alive sea urchins can be bought at the main fish markets around town. While cracking them open to extract the edible bits, or the uni, may be a bit more work than buying them in a box, it was totally worth it for the price point.
With loads of uni on hand for the first time in my life, I was driven to experiment. There was uni guacamole, uni ceviche, uni shooters, you name it. However, my favorite application for the urchin, besides eating it as sashimi that is, was uni butter. Made with only 4 ingredients, this stuff succulent, rich, and incredibly addicting. Spread on good bread or used to make uni scrambled eggs, uni butter is something I wish I could have in my fridge at all times.
Yield: 1/2 cup
Cook time: apprx. 10 minutes
10 lobes of uni
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
In a shallow saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat, warming it but making sure it doesn’t burn.
Once melted, add garlic and turn the heat up so that the garlic sizzles lightly, but neither the butter nor the garlic burn. If it gets too, remove the pan from the heat.
In a bowl, combine the uni with a scoop of the hot butter and beat rapidly with a whisk or a fork until mostly liquid remains.
Add the mixture to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, breaking down any left over clumps of uni.
Remove from heat, allowing it to cool slightly, taste it and add sea salt as necessary.
Pour the butter into a small bowl or ramekin and place in the fridge to let harden. If desired, you can strain the butter first to remove any remaining clumps, but we chose not to.
Once set, simply spread on grilled sourdough bread for a delicious appetizer, make uni scrambled eggs, or get creative and let us know what you chose to do.