a sharp knife or shears, cut a neat circle out of the shell top.
Use a towel or gloves to protect your hands. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)
the cut-out circle (it should be about 3 inches around) from the
shell, using the knife and a spoon. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)
the liquid from inside the shell, and using a spoon, remove and discard
the black parts. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)>
out the clusters of orange roe from inside the shell, keeping them
as whole as possible. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)
the clusters of roe and carefully rinse out the inside of the sea
urchin shell. Then, place crushed ice inside the sea urchin shell
and arrange the clusters of roe on top of the ice. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)
If you are interested in purchasing uni for your restaurant or special event, please contact one of the processors below:
Southern California Catalina Offshore Products, Inc.
5202 Lovelock St.
San Diego, Ca., 92110
Blue Sea Marine Uni, Inc.
712 S. Ceres Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Northern California Pacific Rim Products
32310 North Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, Ca., 95437
Ocean Fresh Products
32330 North Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, Ca., 95437
Early in their work, the members of the Commission felt that quality
was a key target to direct their focus. The quality of the ocean environment
in terms of water and habitat quality certainly is important. But,
the quality of sea urchin products in the marketplace is critical to
strengthening the economics and financial rewards for processors and
To ensure quality uni the Commission established comprehensive “Best
Practices” standards for use by divers and processors. When these
Best Practices become the industry norm, customers worldwide will know
that uni harvested and produced in California will provide a pleasing
and unique seafood selection for the public. Furthermore, they will
know when they buy from California, they can count on consistent high
quality that is true to how it is represented. As consumers learn about
quality uni and the reliable quality of uni from California, it is
anticipated they will prefer California uni to other competing products.
begin the process of improving quality it was necessary to first define
what quality uni means. The Commission identified four main attributes
of uni that needed to be considered: texture, freshness, color and
taste. Texture for quality uni is creamy, firm but light and buttery.
Uni freshness entails having a salty, clean ocean scent. The color
should have brighter hues of gold, yellow and orange. The taste is
sweet, crisp and clean for high quality uni.
The Commission also adopted
the following grade names and standards of quality to encourage uniformity
throughout the industry, to help retail and consumer customers make
better purchasing decisions, and to give assurance of product quality.
“California Gold” - bright
gold, yellow or orange color; firm buttery texture; fresh salty ocean
scent; and with a sweet buttery taste. Uni sections are large and complete
intact pieces. This is exceptionally high-grade uni for use
in top quality sushi. (formerly grade A)
“Premium California” - gold,
yellow or orange color but less brilliant than California Gold;
firm buttery texture; salty ocean scent; with a crisp and nutty taste. Uni
sections are smaller but still primarily intact pieces. Premium
uni is used for sushi, soups, salads, or combination dishes where
uni is the featured item. (formerly grade B)
“Select California” - medium
hues of yellow and orange or even tending to brown in color;
salty ocean scent; softer creamy texture; with a more neutral nutty
may be intact sections but can consist of broken pieces of the other
grades. Frequently Select is packaged and shipped frozen. Uses
include soups, sauces and dishes where the uni is mixed with
other ingredients, including other seafood. (formerly grade C)