The Omnivore's Hundred: Eel and Sea Urchin

Dsc07848I crossed my first two things off the Omnivore's Hundred list last week--eel and sea urchin.  Our favorite sushi place in town offers both as nigiri, so I ordered it there. 

I had tried eel before (Unagi in sushi speak), so that wasn't a big deal.  It's usually cooked and brushed with a sauce that makes it taste smoky or barbecued--certainly tasty, but not necessarily all that exotic in the grand scheme of things.

The sea urchin (Uni) on the other hand was a bit more of an adventure.  Although I didn't find this out until the day after I ate it,

"[U]ni is actually the [sea urchin]'s gonads . . . . Uni ranges in color from rich gold to light yellow, and has a creamy consistency that some love and is off-putting to others. It is nevertheless one sushi item that is in incredible demand around the world, which is reflected in its price. Sea Urchins are a rare treat for those who acquire a taste. Uni has a light, sweet, and somewhat briny flavor and is is usually enjoyed as nigiri sushi or sashimi."

Our waitress was very excited when I ordered it, she said it was one of her favorites and they had it fresh that day.  (Apparently the freshness makes a big difference.)  I was a little nervous when it came out.  I was imagining something that would look more like an actual sea urchin, but what I got looked like a pale slice of raw liver.  Nonetheless, I gamely dipped it in a little soy sauce and popped it in my mouth.

It wasn't bad.  The texture was very soft and light, and it tasted a bit like an oyster--salty and wet, but not overly fishy.  Although it was a bit expensive ($5 for a single piece), I would definitely eat it again.

To see how I'm progressing on the Omnivore's Hundred, click here.