16 sea eggs or urchins
8 freshly laid eggs
100 g salted butter
Pepper from the mill
Wholemeal or country bread
To open the sea eggs, hold them in a kitchen cloth and introduce the point of the scissors into the soft part surrounding the "mouth" on the top of the egg. Gently cut away about 1/3 of the shell to form a circular opening. Remove the tongues of coral with a teaspoon and reserve in a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 240° C (th. 8). Select the eight best shells, rinse and clean thoroughly, and garnish with the tongues of coral. Break an egg into each shell, season with salt and pepper, and add a small knob of butter.
Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (the whites should still be slightly milky and the yolks runny). Serve these stunning "soft-boiled" eggs with fingers of toasted wholemeal or country bread lightly spread with salted butter. A good farmhouse butter will set off wonderfully the subtle flavour of these sea eggs "à la coque".
Only the "corals" of the sea egg are consumed. These are in fact the roes, made up of orange-coloured "tongues" or strips on the inside of the shell. Considered one of the great delicacies of the sea eaten raw, in classical cuisine, they are used in sauces, omelets, soups, and even soufflés. Prepared "à la coque" or in its shell, the sea egg (or urchin) retains its full flavour, so wonderfully reminiscent of the sea.