How to cook starfish

Written by matthew weeks | 13/05/2017
How to cook starfish
Starfish are not a common delicacy, but can be made into a bisque. (Getty Images)

To say that the echinoderm phylum of marine animals is not prized for its value as food would be an understatement. Almost no recipes exist in any major cookbooks which call for starfish as an ingredient. However, as they are considered a nuisance animal with harvesters of oysters and mussels, it would be beneficial if there were a way to make use of them. A chef named Thomas Jefferson Murrey had this exact thought when he began experimenting with a starfish bisque over 100 years ago.

Place eight large starfish in a pot of cold water overnight.

Chop the starfish into small pieces in the morning. Remove nothing from the starfish; chop them whole.

Place the chopped starfish into a mortar with a small amount of butter, salt, and pepper. Grind the entire mixture into a thin paste.

Fill a pot with a gallon of hot water and add the paste. Heat the pot on high and add an onion along with two cloves, a pinch of bay leaves, and two whole peppercorns.

Let the pot boil for two and a half hours and strain the liquid into another saucepan.

Beat one egg up very thoroughly and add 285 ml (a half-pint) of cream to it. Stir this mixture into the soup after it has finished boiling. Add another beaten egg for taste if necessary.

Serve the soup. The recipe has been described as more delicate than oyster or crab bisque.


Starfish are not toxic by themselves, but as they pump water directly into their bodies for respiration, they are vulnerable to any toxins in the waters where they reside. Be sure to harvest your starfish from clean waters.

Things you need

  • 8 large starfish
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion
  • Cloves
  • Bay leaves
  • Peppercorn
  • Eggs
  • Cream
  • Pestle and mortar

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