Though the world’s most revered uni comes from Hokkaido, we daresay that these extremely fresh catches from California can compete with the Japanese, at least in terms of sheer culinary delightfulness.
This San Diego Murasaki uni is as bright and vivacious in flavor as it is in color, replete with tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, a lusciously creamy texture, and a brisk, saline finish.
As with Japanese Murasaki uni, Californian renditions of this species evoke high-toned, floral flavors and aromatics, with delicate sweetness and minerality that are best exemplified when served raw.
Sea Urchin Quality And Pricing
Obviously, the higher the grade, the higher the price, and fresh uni taken directly from a living sea urchin will command the highest price (and is worth the experience as uni this fresh is noticeably different from uni that was processed 24 plus hours beforehand).
Uni is also available fresh (nama uni), frozen (reito uni), baked and frozen (yaki uni), steamed (mushi uni), and salted (shio uni), which is usually reserved for the lower grades of uni.
The color and quality of uni is largely dependent on its diet, gender, and time of harvest.
Uni is also available as neri uni (blended urchin paste) and tsubi uni (a lumpy paste).
Size is also important as some lobes of uni can be too large for a piece of sushi.