Blue Water Cafe Recipe: Red Sea Urchin and Oysters

The red sea urchin is Blue Water Cafe Executive Chef Frank Pabst's most prized sustainable seafood

Credit: John Sherlock

The red sea urchin is one of Blue Water Cafe’s executive chef Frank Pabst’s unsung heroes

Red Sea Urchin
 in a Cucumber Vichyssoise with Kusshi Oysters and Lemon Cream



  • 3 T unsalted butter

  • 12 oz leeks, white part only, thinly sliced

  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced

  • 4 oz potatoes, thinly sliced

  • 12⁄3 cups chicken stock

  • ¾ cup table cream (18% milk fat)

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

Lemon Cream

  • 1 cup whipped cream

  • Zest of ½ a lemon

  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon leaves

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • Pinch of cayenne

Sea Urchin and Oysters

  • 4 medium red sea urchins

  • 12 kusshi oysters, shucked

  • 1 T minced chives, for garnish

  • 1 T finely diced cucumber, for garnish

  • 4 to 8 sprigs watercress, for garnish


Preparing the urchins for this dish can be a bit messy – don an apron and work over a baking sheet with a generous lip to catch all of the juices that run out.


  1. In a medium pot, melt butter over medium-high heat and sweat leeks and onion with a good pinch of salt and several turns of pepper for about 5 minutes until tender but not browned.
  2. Add potatoes and chicken stock and simmer for 35 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Add cream, then transfer this soup to a food processor and purée while gradually adding the raw cucumber slices.
  4. Strain the purée through a medium-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
  5. Season to taste, then refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Lemon Cream

  1. In a small bowl, combine cream, lemon zest, tarragon, lemon juice, 
cayenne and a pinch of salt.

Sea Urchin and Oysters

  1. Place a small cutting board in the centre of a baking sheet.
  2. Place each sea urchin, mouth-side up, on the cutting board and crack it open with a heavy chef’s knife without smashing completely through the urchin. 

  3. Alternatively, with sharp, pointy scissors, cut a 1-inch circle around the hole in each sea urchin. This is its mouth.
  4. Empty the liquid inside the shell onto the baking sheet, then strain it into a small bowl.
  5. With a teaspoon, carefully remove the roe from each sea urchin and wash in a bowl of cold salted water to remove any grit. Discard the shells.

To Serve

Ladle three-quarters of a cup of the vichyssoise into four soup bowls, then garnish with the sea urchin roe and the oysters. Scoop a spoonful of lemon cream into the centre of each bowl and sprinkle with chives and cucumber.

Serves 4

From the book Blue Water Cafe: Seafood Cookbook, copyright 2009, by Frank Pabst. Photography by John Sherlock. Published by Douglas & MacIntyre, an imprint of D&M Publishers Inc. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.