Fresh, salty and creamily opulent, this rust-coloured paste, known in Japan as uni, is a meal I’ll remember for the rest of my life
There are only going to be a handful of meals you think about on your deathbed. It doesn’t matter how many times you have sampled the latest deep-fried insect limbs or unicorn smoothie – ultimately, you will be left with four or five things seared on your brain. On my list, right up there alongside fillet steaks from Hawksmoor and the wines of Bekaa Valley, would be uni, the Japanese name for sea urchin, as it’s more widely known in the UK.
I first came across the delicacy in California a few years back, when it was all the rage in sushi bars. Had somebody told me that what I was eating were the sea creature’s gonads, scraped from within its cracked-open shell, I might not have felt quite so peckish. But, blissfully unaware, I popped the rust-coloured paste – wrapped in seaweed and dabbed with wasabi – into my mouth.