Sea Anemones

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A recipe from the book "Memories of the Life and Cooking of Agde" by Madeline Cornal, as dictated to her son Michel Adgé.

Here is the recipe for a delicious dish but which requires some warnings for the gathering. It is necessary to go barefoot among the rocks, taking care not to step on a sea urchin.

With your fingers, unstick the anemones from their rocks, which will not let go without difficulty.  The pretty iridescent tentacles of this animal are venomous and stinging, as they serve to paralyse the little fish and other marine animals on which they feed. The people of Agde don't call it Stinging Nettle for nothing. Only a thick layer of grease on the fingers will resist it.

This venom is destroyed by cooking, which permits the cooking of this delicious dish.

You must bring a container of sea water to keep the anemones alive and to wash the sand away which covers them. A child's bucket will do.
When you get home, coat the "nettles" in flour, splitting the biggest ones in two, and let them cook in a big fryer and turning them over in the boiling oil like fritters. Above all, they must be fried to a golden brown. On tasting, this dish is also soft and as good as brain fritters.

Additional information:

Other names of this anemone are Green Actinia, Common Anemone, Fritter Anemone, Sea Anemone, and Ortigo (in Provence).
Anemones huddle together in all seasons. It is preferable to fish those in 50 cm of water. Plan for 15 anemones per person.
In the Mediterranean, we rinse the anemones in vinegar before rinsing them in clear water to stop the stinging effect.
Wash them, remove their sand, gut them, salt and pepper then and then roll them in the breading.  The pan must be hot. Use peanut oil. Serve them when the two sides are golden (A recipe from Corsica).

Generally, people eat them fried but sometimes also with garlic, chopped onion and tomato paste mixed in with the batter.
Hot and coated in crunchy batter, they exude a maritime flavour from the first bite.

Michel Adgé / Jean-Marc Roger. (traduction : Janet L. Clark)