ABOUT SEA URCHIN

| Buying Uni | Quality | Sustainable Management (Video) | From Ocean to Restaurant |


BUYING UNI

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.
(619) 297-9797
5202 Lovelock St.
San Diego, Ca., 92110

Gary Shiozaki
Blue Sea Marine Uni, Inc.
(213) 626-2557
712 S. Ceres Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Northern California
Pacific Rim Products
(707) 962-0877
32310 North Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, Ca., 95437

Ocean Fresh Products
(707) 961-5426
32330 North Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, Ca., 95437

QUALITY

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 divers alike.

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.

To 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 taste.  Uni 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)


SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT (VIDEO)


 

FROM OCEAN TO RESTAURANT

 

With 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)

 

Remove 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)

 

Discard the liquid from inside the shell, and using a spoon, remove and discard the black parts.
(Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)>

 

Spoon out the clusters of orange roe from inside the shell, keeping them as whole as possible.
(Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)

 

Reserve 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)

 

 

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