An Uni Dinner
Uni and Ebi Jelly
When I visited Tokyo earlier this year for work, a trip to the famed Tsukiji fish market was high on my list of things-to-do. Watching the bluefin auction in the wholesale area of Tsukiji was a surreal experience - both because of the palpable air of excitement, and because the scene enacted was one I recognised from watching way too many episodes of Japan Hour. Even more exciting, however, was the wet market area. The veritable rabbit warren of stalls purveying all manner of creatures from the deep was truly staggering - I thought I knew my seafood, but apparently not. No form of edible marine organism, it seems, has escaped the Japanese kitchen. Beautiful or bestial, massive or miniscule - a few were familiar, many were not, and some were downright strange.
My flight being later the same day, I was determined to bring back booty. Amongst those things was a large wooden tray of uni, or sea urchin - vividly golden of hue , each plush little tongue plump and succulent, it was of an unmistakable quality and freshness I had hitherto not encountered. The next few days back home were spent in a dreamy state feasting on uni sashimi, and carefully rationing the rest in various sea urchin recipes I had always wanted to try.
For dinner tonight, I cooked a four-course uni-themed meal based on the recipes we liked most from previously.
Uni and Ebi Jelly (pictured above)
I found this charming recipe from Shizuo Tsuji's Practical Japanese Cooking, the companion volume to his classic Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. You can choose any combination of compatible ingredients to be suspended in the limpid, dashi-flavoured aspic - I used ebi (shrimp), uni, and soramame (broad bean).