Our source of inspiration this month lies within the ocean – the sea urchin! As prickly as hedgehogs, these round spiky balls litter the floors and rocks of the worlds oceans, concealing a rounded body with neither a head nor a tail. Like starfish, sea urchins are symmetrical across five axes. Their edible parts therefore, are also in five axes; roes like yellow and orange lobes that form the creatures gonads. Across the numerous culinary cultures of the globe that appreciates sea urchins, there is a general consensus that they are best eaten raw. In Japan, Uni is eaten as sushi and there are several grades available in the fish markets. The most sought after are bright golden and firm, the paler ones are less sweet. While the same degree of refinement is not found in the West, sea urchins are still considered a luxury and in particular in the Mediterranean are becoming scarce due to overconsumption. The taste is always of the sea, but never fishy. It varies from a salty, ‘seaweedy’ explosion of the ocean to a sweeter creamier flavour. Unfortunately we don’t often see them in South Africa but when you travel to the Mediterranean, keep a look out for them on the menu!