Sea urchin, cauliflower mousseline, lobster gelée & trout roe

I had a dish a few years ago at Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant in Hong Kong which consisted of a layer of smooth cauliflower mousseline with a jellified beet consommé and thinly sliced marinaded scallop, not only the contrasting colors were visually striking but I still remember vividly the perfect harmony of the dish. It had the texture of panna cotta and so much more. On my recent trip to l’Ambroisie in Paris I was also served a cauliflower mousseline, topped with a thin layer of clear shellfish gelée and a fresh langoustine tartare which was equally memorable – it reminded me how great interposing delicate textures can be. When I came across some pristine looking sea urchin at Mitsuwa last week-end and remembered I had some lobster consommé in the freezer I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to experiment a little.

Joel Robuchon does a Sea urchin in lobster gelée with cauliflower cream at l’Atelier, in this version I put Robuchon’s dish in reverse, the cauliflower cream is at the bottom and the sea urchin on top. I dared to put the ying where the yang was supposed to be. Not everyone keeps lobster consommé in their freezer so this might seem like quite a bit of work to make from scratch but the reward is that you get to experience beautiful sea urchin in all its briny strangeness with a supporting cast that’s equally awesome.

  • Sea urchin, cauliflower mousseline, lobster gelée & trout roe

  • Serves 4 to 6
    • For the lobster gelee:
    • 4  lobsters heads, blanched & chopped
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 2 celery ribs, chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 fennel bulb
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
    • 1/2 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 2  teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    • For the cauliflower mousseline:
    • 1/2 lb cauliflower florets
    • salt
    • white pepper
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 2 tablespoons mascarpone
    • To finish:
    • sea urchin
    • trout roe
    • chervil
    • olive oil
    • For the lobster gelée:
    • Blanch the lobster heads (or buy them from your fishmonger) chop them and and place them in a large pot, then add wine, carrots, celery, fennel, onion, garlic, tarragon sprigs, salt, fennel seeds, rice wine vinegar and 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid is reduced to about 6 cups, about 2 hours.
    • Pour stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Transfer 2 3/4 cups stock to a bowl and freeze the rest in an airtight container for another use. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over 1/2 cup stock in a small saucepan, then let stand a few minutes to soften. Heat over very low heat, stirring, just until gelatin is dissolved, then stir in remaining 2 1/2 cups stock. Cool to room temperature.
    • For the cauliflower mousseline:
    • Place the cauliflower in a saucepan and pour 1 quart of water and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
    • Place the florets back into the pan and place in a preheated oven for 5 minutes to evaporate moisture. Transfer them to a food processor, add the butter and puree until smooth. Blend in the mascarpone. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You should obtain a very smooth and creamy cauliflower mousseline. Cool and refrigerate.
    • To finish:
    • In small bowls or cups, spread some of the cauliflower mousseline to fill the bottom, smooth the top. Place some trout roe over it and pour some of the cold lobster consomme in each bowls, to a 1/4 inch thickness. Carefully place the bowls in the refrigerator until set.
    • To serve, place 4 or 5 sea urchins on top of the lobster gelee, place some trout row in the center and drizzle with a few drops of olive oil. Garnish with chervil leaves.
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  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Ahh I miss living in Japan where sea urchin was easy to find! This dish looks wonderful! :)

  • Melody Fury ♥ Food!

    This is ridiculous, S! You’ve done it again.

  • Colloquial Cool

    Qu’on lui donne un Oscar! Fissa!

  • Celia

    Oooh, decadent. I’m always scared to cook with uni because it’s such a luxury ingredient…this looks soooo good though…

  • Anonymous

    I need to come to your house when you’re cooking stuff like this! LOL
    Sea urchin — when it’s super fresh, it’s the best thing in the world.

  • Eugene @ FoodandScent

    Omg, this got me absolutely dripping wet with saliva. Total decadence with great pairing of flavours. I’m now a fan.

  • Kate Pet

    This looks wonderful! It will be tough to find sea urchin, but I know I can definitely start working on the cauliflower mousseline asap.

  • Dillon

    Very nice dish and my god, those unis look awesome. I think you should be on top chef or something lol

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Eugene, and welcome!

  • shirley@kokken69

    The problem I have with Uni is I can’t stop eating it and it is extremely expensive! With a supporting cast like Lobster consomme and the never ending list of ingredients – this is a dish that I would gladly pay for, then to foolishly attempt at home. It’s different for you, of course – you are a real chef… me? I am just trying to pretend to cook… :)

  • Anonymous

    For someone pretending to cook you’re doing really well. :)

  • Peter

    Chapeau, M. Zen. I love Mitsuwa; every time I go there I get inspired to cook my best. I just wish it was a bit closer.