Sea urchins, sea shells and olive oil
Sea urchins only live in exceptionally clean water, on rocks and stones. They are undesirable when we swim, but talking about food, in Dalmatia and Thassos they are a real specialty. The preparation is very simple because they are eaten raw. You should be very careful pulling them off the rocks. In case you are stung, don't try to pull the spines out on your own. Leave it alone and after a few days they will just fall out. Or visit a doctor. If you have medical insurance you'll pay nothing. If not, you will be charged 30€. Let us go back to pulling off sea urchins. Having done it, have a look if there is a "roe", because it is the only edible part. The colour is red-orange and only female urchins have it. Female sea urchins can be recognized by decorations consisting of tiny stones and shells on their spines. Because of the very strong taste of roe, it should be topped by lemon juice and olive oil. Tomato juice can be added too as we did it yesterday (shown in the picture). The dish is said to go best with ouzo. The "roe" is believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Beside the roe, there is liquid too which should be drained onto a plate. Apart from sea urchins, sea shells attached to underwater rocks are edible too (in Greek "fuskes"). You must have seen them often but you probably never thought there was anything tasty inside. They should be cut off the rock with a knife or with a stone because they are very firmly glued to the rock. Their taste is even stronger than the sea urchins and therefore a squeeze of lemon juice is absolutely necessary. Unlike sea urchins, it is almost impossible to eat large quantities of it. Every part of them except the shells is edible. Both sea urchins and sea shells can be prepared with spaghetti. Fry them with onion and garlic briefly and add to spaghetti. Speaking of saving tips, there is one more valuable piece of advice. Thassos olive oil is one of the best in Greece. The price is good, less than 5 eu per litre . However, if you go to a factory you will get one litre of cold pressed olive oil for less than 3€. If you have no empty bottles with you, you pay an additional 70-80 cents per bottle. As it is very confidential information, don’t reveal who told you the secret. As I said the price is around 5.5€ per litre of olive oil. It isn't true for the private factories like the one in Panagia but for the one in Limenaria and another in Potos. Don't blame me if you don't get olive oil this way, as it can happen that the supermarket owners protest and stop selling in factories.