Animals: Love them or hate them, we also eat them. And nothing better illustrates just how many of them we eat (and how thoroughly) than Calvin Schwabe's giant compendium of recipes from every corner of the world, excerpts of which are appearing in Salon this week, Monday through Friday -- one recipe each day on the Life and People sites -- by kind permission of the University Press of Virginia. This one comes from France, where it's known as "Purée d'oursins."
"The gonads of sea urchins are rubbed through a sieve and mixed with an equal volume of thick béchamel sauce (or the two are blended in an electric blender). The purée is simmered for about 5 minutes and some butter is stirred in. For hors d'oeuvres this purée may be spread on croutons fried in butter, sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese, and browned under the broiler. It can also be used to fill small vol-u-vents or the like."