Thursday, March 15, 2012

UNI=Gonads!?!



"A mouth from front to back" Or so Aristotle thought when he described the sea urchin in his "History of Animals". A long time ago. And they have quite the mouth. Filled with self-sharpening teeth, they can chew through coral, stone and pretty much anything else that gets in their way. And they do move (albeit not terribly fast) on many tiny hidden feet.

It doesn't get fresher than this!
"Uni" is usually translated as "sea urchin roe" In fact, its the "gonads"(that's right; the testicles and/or ovaries...) not just the eggs which are consumed. Uni is served up in Japan, Korea and coastal areas of Spain, Portugal and other countries. Almost always in a raw preparation. In Japan, nigiri sushi or sashimi is very popular.


Uni nigiri sushi is usually served "gunkan"("battleship"shape) style

Winter is considered the best season in Japan and Canada. At its best, uni tastes something like the ocean smells. Slightly salty, but clean and fresh. The texture is buttery but firm, and melts wonderfully in your mouth.

BC is blessed with an abundant, well managed uni fishery. It's taking time for Kamloops palates to warm to the taste and texture of uni, but we've managed a few converts!



A few fun uni facts too interesting to ignore....

Sea urchins are humans closest relative in the inverterbrate world and we share more than 30% of the same genetic make up.

It appears that sea urchins have one of the most highly developed immune systems humans have studied. Researchers hoping to cure Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease as well as cancer are very interested in uni!

Some red sea urchins have lived to two hundred years old!


They've got no brain...but they've got very great tasting gonads! And Sanbiki's got them, but only at certain times and limited quantities to ensure top quality.


More curious culinary blogs to come....

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