Sea Urchin Guacamole Tacos with Sea Urchin Salsa

An uni taco recipe from Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman.

“This taco was born out of a shared opinion among my cooks and friends that a tortilla is as worthy of precious ingredients as any piece of Raynaud china. When I thought about making a sea urchin taco, I knew that working it into guacamole would magnify the briny sweetness the spiky creature is known for—the fat in an avocado can help stretch and carry flavors just like a knob of butter. Its lobes (sometimes called “tongues”) show up three times in this taco: mashed with avocado, piled on top of the guacamole in a bright orange heap, and combined with chipotle and lime juice in a simple salsa. The sea urchin and avocado have a similar luscious texture, and biting into this taco is a bit like face-planting into a just-fluffed pillow or planting a raspberry on a fat baby’s belly. It’s over-the-top opulent, the kind of celebratory dish that everyone deserves an occasion to eat. When the time comes, you’ll need a ton of urchin—156 tongues. Many fishmongers and Japanese grocers (who call them uni) sell them pre-shucked by the tray, so you won’t have to mess with those spiky shells.” – Alex Stupak


Click here to purchase your own copy of Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman, courtesy of Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

INGREDIENTS

For the Sea Urchin Salsa

  • 36 sea urchin tongues
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Maldon or flaky salt, as needed

For the Filling

  • 2 Haas avocados
  • 1⁄2 medium white onion, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 60 cilantro leaves (from about 15 sprigs), roughly chopped
  • Maldon or flaky salt, as needed
  • 72 sea urchin tongues

For Assembly

  • 48 sea urchin tongues
  • Maldon or flaky salt, as needed
  • 60 cilantro leaves (from about 15 sprigs), roughly chopped
  • 2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • corn or flour tortillas

Serves 12

PREPARATION

  1. For the Sea Urchin Salsa: In a small bowl, combine the 36 sea urchin tongues with the chipotles, sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and Maldon salt. Use a fork to gently crush the ingredients together. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For the Filling: Cut open the avocados, remove their pits, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the 1/2 minced white onion, Serrano chile, 3 tablespoons lime juice, chopped cilantro, Maldon salt, and 72 sea urchin tongues. Use a fork or an avocado masher to gently mash the guacamole and set aside. Make one batch of tortillas and hold them warm.
  3. To Assemble the Tacos: Lay out the warm tortillas on serving plates. Place a few tablespoons of the sea urchin guacamole on each tortilla and evenly distribute the 48 urchin tongues among the tacos. Season with salt and top with the sea urchin salsa, minced onion, and chopped cilantro. Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over the tacos and serve the rest on the side.
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