I’ve had the little urchins in the freezer. Like snakes, it takes the edge off their aggressioin.
OK, not Willspawn, but the spikey sea critters. Shona bought me these for a birthday which was overshadowed by post wisdom extraction hell, so they’ve been waiting for an outing. Also in the freezer was some of prawn stock, made with left oververy gorgeous prawn feasts, and in the absence of North Atlantic lobster stock, this makes an epic base for paella.
I don’t really have a regular recipe for paella, the essential elements are of course rice, saffron and the sea, but I have made some meaty bastards just with prawn stock and chunks of animal, chorizo and recently beef rib.
On this one I fried some onion and garlic in olive oil with some sweet smoked paprika and a pinch of some deeply crimson and mind blowing saffron (Baby Saffron brand) til translucent, then the rice (250g of Flor de Calasparra paella rice), a chunk of frozen passata, and the stock (about 5-600ml plus some water). As it neared completion, I scattered in some cooked Jewfish- a delicious and firm NT local fish, then some frozen peas and chopped parsley. As the base nicely crusted, I placed some of the urchins around the edges with some not too hot fresh chili on one half for the grown ups and let them gently warm through before serving. The boys loved it though like magnets, the urchins repelled each other.
The iodine hit from the urchins is pretty unique, possibly similar to that you get with oysters. Is there is something like synesthesia here? Maybe not quite, but occasionally food has a profound sensory evocation, maybe like looking at the ocean on LSD? Every now and then this strikes, and it’s great.