fried sea anemone
In this past Sunday's New York Times travel section there was a Choice Tables report on Seville restaurants. Besides putting a bad Seville jones on for me, it also made me curious about one of the dishes described - fried sea anemone. As I recall, it was described as having a taste similar to sea urchin/oyster and to be molten inside a crusty exterior. Has anyone ever had this? Is it available anywhere in NYC? Gotta try it and Seville is so far away.
I live in NYC and used to live in Seville, and I've eaten a whole lot of fried sea anemones--known to their fellow Andalusians as "ortiguillas." The resort town of Chipiona is famous for them, but they're available up and down the coast, and in Seville as you say. I'm crazy about them. I wouldn't say they're much like sea urchin, except perhaps for shock-value to the uninitiated. Raw oysters would be a better comparison: They really just taste like the sea.
I know of no place in NY to get them, but you might try asking at Meson Flamenco, 135 Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn. (Which, by the way, has some of the few authentic tapas I've found around here.) One of the bartenders there (the young guy) goes to Chipiona in the summer, and if anyone knows where to get them in New York, it'll be him. Or perhaps one could find the anemones themselves in Chinatown, then deep-fry them in olive oil. But I don't even know whether they're available in any form--and anyway you probably can't find them alive, which is how they have to be when you drop them in the Fryolator. I'll let you know if I find out.
re: John Lilly
I grew up in an island of Korea and we used to cook sea anemones with a drop of seasame oil, soy sauce, and minced garlic and they were absolutely delicious. They were special treats. I was told that we could eat only the blue and the green ones, but never red sea anemones. I am not sure why. Suesan