live sea urchin from fresh catch

by foodhoe on March 21, 2017

Look at these beauties!  Last week I signed up for a really cool service called Fresh Catch, a local CSF (community supported fishery) who procure the very best seafood from traceable, sustainable sources every week and delivers it to your home.  I immediately jumped at the chance when my friend Brenda sent me this link because I was smitten with the idea of having fresh sea urchin and can you believe that I signed up and was able to get urchin the next day!!!   What?!!!!   And look at how lively this was, it was literally trying to make a run for it…

The fresh local sea urchins are harvested by hand just outside of Half Moon Bay, via diving – which is the most sustainable method possible because it involves zero by catch and zero harm to our other precious resources in the Sea.  I received an email earlier in the day saying that the sea urchins had been plucked from the sea that day, and included a link to this youtube video with encouraging words that helped us not be too freaked out about the whole thing.  Mr. K opted for the most direct method…

 

The urchins were undulating wildly and very alive!  It was fairly easy to whack them with the cleaver and them pull them open, but it is fundamentally unsettling because it is a live creature that cringes when you squeeze lemon onto its sweet creamy flesh.

I used a spoon and carefully scooped out the golden flesh which resembled tongues.  They required quite a bit of rinsing and cleaning as there was a lot of effluvia and membranes along with stuff that just needed to be strained and removed out.

They thoughtfully included a sheet with recipe ideas (Sea Urchin bisque, Uni Bruschetta, Caviar Sea Urchin Pasta and Uni Shooters).  We opted for Sea Urchin Pasta as we had no caviar but all of the rest of the ingredients.  It was a simple preparation with butter, chives, grated parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon that really showcased the sweet creamy flavors.

Sea Urchin Pasta

For Sauce:

2 live sea urchins

1/2 stick butter

1 tablespoon water

fine sea salt

espelette pepper powder

For pasta:

1-1/2 tsp thinly sliced chives

1 Tblsp freshly ground parmesan cheese

fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 fresh lemon

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Puree the sea urchin in a blender

Pass it through a fine mesh sieve (this step actually was necessary as there were bits of the hard carapace that made its way into the mound of urchin that I scooped out of the shell).

Melt butter

To finish the sauce, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, whisk in butter, turn heat off, whisk in urchin.  Season with salt and espelette pepper and keep warm.

Cook pasta as directed until al dente, drain.

Put chives in a stainless steel bowl, add warmed sauce, parmesan cheese and mix well.  Season with salt and white pepper, add more grated cheese if you want.

Gently toss pasta with sauce.

To serve, gently twirl one half of the pasta and mound it in the center of a small bowl.  Drizzle some of the remaining sauce around each mound.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the pasta and sprinkle with chives.  Serve immediately and swoon.

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Omakase at Kinjo

by foodhoe on March 1, 2017

2206 Polk St, SF 94109 | 415.921.2222 |  facebook page

Last week Mr. K and I were invited for an omakase feast at Kinjo, a new upscale sushi house which opened in Russian Hill earlier this year.  The plain curtain gently swaying in the breeze caught my eye, which is a good thing because the signage is so subtle, just an unobtrusive logo on the center panel… There is a spacious foyer with a wraparound counter that is all about understated elegance and prepares you for the beautiful meal to come.

Kinjo serves an omakase menu where you pay a flat rate of $120 for a tasting menu that is designed daily by the chef.  Most of the fish is flown in twice a week and is said to be from the oldest fish company in Tokyo.  The menu is based on the edomae style and technique which dates back to 17th century Japan (picture samurai and shogun in old Tokyo), where simplicity was paramount and refrigeration didn’t exist.  We were presented with seafood of immaculate and pristine quality which the Chef’ prepared with such mastery as to make the simple sublime. The restaurant has room for 42 people which includes seating at the sushi bar.  It is spacious but has an intimate feel and in the background plays rhythmic and flowy jazz.  The sushi counter is very low profile and looks into an open kitchen where the team of chefs stand at the ready.

The first course was Caviar and we began with a miyagi oyster from British Columbia topped with caviar from sturgeon that is farm raised near Sacramento, which added a rich depth of flavor to the sweet creamy flesh of the oyster, there was a tiny bit of fresh wasabi tucked under the roe, and rice under the oyster!

Sitting at the counter gives you a front row view to watch all of the action and talk with the chef.  The fish is kept in wooden boxes that they store under the counter, rather than in a big glass display filled with ice.  Apparently with edomae style sushi the fish is meant to be be served at room temperature, the rice is al dente and less sweet.  We felt so pampered being served by Chef Toshi, who took first place in the World Sushi Cup in 2014, and third place in the 2015 Global Sushi Challenge, in addition to earning a Michelin star during his 10 years at Sushi Ran.  He was masterful and meticulous, here he arranges uni from Hokkaido onto the rice using chopsticks, not tweezers.

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Curry Up Now in Oakland

February 19, 2017

1745 San Pablo Avenue, (near 18th St) Oakland | 510.858.7475 | website Last week I went to check out the newest location of Curry Up Now which opened in Oakland earlier this month.  It’s in an area that is really busting out with so many new bars and restaurants and is next door to The New Parish venue.  Curry Up […]

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Delicious dumplings at Din Tai Fung

February 8, 2017

Westfield Valley Fair, Santa Clara | 408.248.1688 | menu | reservations Din Tai Fung is a chain from Taiwan that is legendary for their xiao long bao or soup dumplings.  They currently operate over 100 locations worldwide and finally, finally opened a branch in the Bay Area last May.  From the beginning, the lines to get in were […]

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Chicken and Beer pop up dinner at Clove and Hoof

January 13, 2017

4001 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611 | 510.547.1446 | website Last month, I went to a Chicken and Beer pop-up dinner at Clove and Hoof in Oakland, which was offering a 5-course beak to tail meal along with Fieldwork beers for $50.  The kitchen is known for breaking  down the whole animal and making use of all the parts, as they believe that […]

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Wildcat + Charta, a popup feast with Chef Sophina Uong

December 22, 2016

Last week I was invited to a popup dinner hosted by chef Sophina Uong, who paired with EatFeastly to introduce Wildcat + Charta Uncommon Kitchen, where she is testing out new menu items for an Oakland restaurant project opening early next year.  I’ve been a fan of Chef Sophina since I met her at a James Beard dinner at Bridges Restaurant […]

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LiMA restaurant in Concord

December 6, 2016

There’s a new Peruvian restaurant in town that I have to tell you about!  It’s called LiMA and opened up last week in Todos Santos Plaza in Concord, which is conveniently close to Bart with plenty of free public parking (gotta give the ‘burbs some love for that).  The chef-owner John Marquez has an impressive background working […]

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