UNI: SEA URCHIN ROE – ‘The velvet of the ocean’

Recently we received a shipment of uni that was our best yet. I suppose you could say that we have caught ‘UNI fever’ at Fish Palace. As we have been talking alot about uni in the past few days, I decided to do a quick blog to let you know some of the things we found out.

Firstly, we should answer the question ‘what is uni?’. Uni is the Japanese word for sea urchin. The prize is found inside the spiny shell, a yellow/orange sack which is the urchin’s gonads (reproductive organ). Most chefs and keen enthusiasts serve and eat uni raw, a few more adventurous folk cook it using obscure and adventurous methods.

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Until recently, uni was mainly appreciated by the Japanese and was primarily found in Japanese restaurants in East Asian countries and Western cities. From what we gather our customers buy uni to lay out as a center piece in their sashimi and sushi feasts. On special occasions they opt for uni, keta, gindara and maguro to really impress. Whilst our customers seem to know a lot about uni we are still catching up a bit.

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We’ve had quite a mixed variety of uni over the years. Uni can range in colour and form depending on quality and origin. There are around 200 species of sea urchin but only some are used on a commercial level for human consumption. The main regions of the world producing uni are Hokkaido – Japan, California – USA, Maine – USA, Chile. These are not the only places in the world your uni could come from, they are just the top 4.

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As you will have gathered; we are super impressed with our current supply shipped in from Canada. We called in a favour from one of our suppliers who is an importer from that region and asked to take a small percentage of their devoted uni shipment. A small percentage to them is a vast quantity to us! Luckily the quality is premium so we are more than happy to be over stocked in sashimi grade uni. The uni is packed in neat little trays that has 2 sacs to a compartment making it perfectly convenient to take them out and construct your sashimi stacks.

So from our end the outlook is pretty positive for the this years’ supply of high grade uni. No more of that ‘eggy’ and ‘soupy’ grade 2 uni, we are rolling with the grade 1 ‘creme de la creme’ from here on out.jg-selection-2

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2 thoughts on “UNI: SEA URCHIN ROE – ‘The velvet of the ocean’

  1. buyingseafood

    Eating urchins (ricci) is a favorite in Sicily and a tradition brought to my hometown by my ancestors. With some good Italian bread and red wine, what more do you need? When Japanese buyers realized we had so many in New England they paid top dollar for a while. My father and I spent a summer harvesting on days we were not lobstering.

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