Part of Barbados' rich culture is deeply cemented in the local cuisine. One such delicacy is sea eggs. Otherwise known as white sea eggs, these are one of the seventeen species of sea urchins found in the waters of Barbados.
The harvesting of these sea eggs calls for no nets or rods, but rather, divers simply pick them up from the sea bed. This has to be done with due care as they have sharp spines which can cause injury if not handled correctly.
With the high local demand of sea eggs in Barbados, numbers were drastically decreasing in the waters and the Government of Barbados took the initiative to preserve these sea eggs and by extension the health of the water, by placing a band on their harvesting for significant periods This was in an effort to replenish the species. Persons found harvesting or selling the sea eggs out of season are required to pay a fine and/or sentenced to jail time.
When harvested, the shells are gently cracked with a spoon to open the sea egg, and then the roe is carefully removed. Interestingly, the roe is actually the only part which is consumed.
After harvesting, there are many ways to prepare the delicacy, with the most popular ways being frying, stewing or sautéing. Some persons enjoy eating them raw as well, with or without lemon juice, directly from the shell! Many argue that this dish is an acquired taste, but one that everyone eventually grows to love and crave.
While in Barbados, be sure to ask the locals if sea eggs are in season. If you are lucky and they are, order it from a local menu or even venture to the fish market to purchase them fresh and prepare them yourselves. You will definitely have a greater appreciation of Barbados and its culture.
Have you ever tried any sea egg dishes in Barbados? Let us know how much you enjoyed them!