Often overlooked as a food source, the Sea Urchin – kråkebolle – are growing abundantly in the Northeast Atlantic. With natural predators threatened by overfishing and climate change, their numbers have exploded to more than 80 billion along the Norwegian coastline alone. Urchins have voracious appetites, and they’re devouring our kelp forests at a staggering rate. Kelp forests are not only home to a variety of fish and marine species, but they also absorb an estimated 600 million tonnes of carbon every year, and are viewed in the scientific community as a vital resource in our fight against climate change. Balance must be restored in order to protect our kelp forests.
The good news is that the urchin’s roe is a delicacy and can be eaten raw; straight from the ocean. With a delicate minerality that can be compared to oysters, but nevertheless unique, it’s a perfect match for these luxurious scrambled eggs – and simple to cook at home. The urchin harvest lasts all winter, much to the delight of our resident sea otter, who also loves to munch on these prickly pillagers!
Due to strict governmental rules we’re currently unable to gather sea urchin ourselves and serve them in the restaurant, but our dream is to find solutions where we can protect the kelp forests and have these delicious treasures as part of our local menu. In the meantime we’re playing with ideas and recipes whilst keeping an eye on the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. If you’d like to have a go with the sea urchin, just remember to be careful when opening the fragile shell; turn it upside down so the mouth is facing you. We prefer to use the bottom heel of a knife to cut around the mouth with sharp taps.