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Roast bone marrow, chilli and sea urchin

A wonderful friend sent me an email recently from the other side of the world, simply entitled "Best dish EVER", with a photo and a brief description. She has always been my most enthusiastic partner in crime when it comes to food adventures and reading her words made me miss her dearly. Looking closer at the photo I realised the dish didn't look too complicated and was something I might be able to make. The next day I went to Eataly and found all the ingredients I needed. Tasting my results that night I'd like to think that, although she is in Australia, at that moment we were sharing the same plate.


Serves two




2 beef marrow bones, cut lengthways

12 fat sea urchin lobes

1 mild red chilli, thinly sliced

1 small handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1 tbsp little caper buds

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt flakes, like Maldon

Black pepper


What to do


Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).


Wash and dry the marrowbones, brushing off any loose bits of bone and other debris. Space them out evenly on a baking tray, using scrunched up aluminium foil between each bone to keep the cut surface level facing upwards and evenly balanced. Season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the marrow is bubbling, browned and smells delicious.


Meanwhile combine the chilli slices and chopped parsley in a small bowl. Heat the olive oil in a small pan and drop in a caper bud. When the oil is hot enough to make the caper sizzle drop in the rest and fry until the flower buds open up, brown and become crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel before adding to the chilli and parsley mix.


If you bought your sea urchin in the shell use a spoon to scoop out the orange lobes and put them in a bowl of iced water. Carefully wash and clean each lobe, removing any remaining pieces of shell or grit. Remove from the water and drain on a paper towel.


When the bones are ready take them out of the oven and put two on each serving plate. Immediately scatter over the chilli, parsley and caper mix so that the residual heat from the marrow wilts the garnish and absorbs some of its flavour. 


Allow the bones to cool for about 5 minutes then carefully distribute the sea urchin amongst them.


Eat with a spoon, possibly some charred sourdough toast, and a glass of pinot noir. Think of good friends.

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