Since first spying these little guys in their imported packaging within the frozen foods section of a Korean market a few months ago, I've kept a secret obsession to work with them. Being from south Louisiana, I have eaten a variety of strange things that are pulled out of the water. This was something new and interesting, and there isn't much information of the web except for the traditional Korean preparation, and a mention of their super human ability to kill cancer. What they are to America is an invasive species, and all invasive species should be eaten to diminish their numbers.
After eating one raw and gathering top secret intel from my tastebuds as to the flavor and texture of these squirts (or tunicates), I decided to marry them with some preserved key lime, aji amarillo powder, and some refined olive oil. When using the preserved limes, there is no need to add additional salt or spices because the flavor imparted by them is incredibly well rounded for simple preparations such as this. I vacuum sealed the squirts and let them sit in the cooler for a day.
Once removed from their bag, the squirts were plated with some cucumber coulis, Ximenez syrup, and baby shiso leaf. I wanted to add some toasted cancha for texture and to parallel the use of aji amarillo as a Peruvian ingredient. Perhaps toasted shiso seed would have given a more appropriate crunch and smooth nutty flavor (this is one of our favorite 'crunch' additions to dishes lately, and they can be found at most Asian markets).
So about the flavor... kind of like a chewy intensely flavored fatty oyster when in its pure raw state. The flavor actually lingered in my mouth for over an hour afterwards. Once married with the other flavors, it maintained its oyster essence, but with overlying layers of 'boiled crawfish (mud bugs)' and fatty shellfish (not clean like lobster, but more funky like mud dwelling crustaceans). Assuming these guys are filter feeders, the strong sea flavor is understandable. The amount of squirts on the plate above is extremely excessive (although one of the Korean interns in the restaurant ate 3 of them... a good sign). I cannot imagine putting more than 2 of them on a plate, as they are interesting but not something you would immediately eat a slew of upon first encounter. Having the word 'squirts' on a menu is just strangely appealling to me for unknown reasons. Maybe even paired with spicy boiled tots (squirts and tots?). Eat yer squirts, dammit!