Recipe: Maine Uni and Bluefin Tuna Urchin Bites
by SoPo Seafood's Jacqueline Clark AKA the Briny Babe - October 19, 2021
We love a dish with a play on aesthetics. Our Maine Uni and Bluefin Tuna Urchin Bites uses a thinly sliced sheet of nori to create the appearance of the spines of a sea urchin. At the very center of our creation, we carefully place several tongues of uni to mimic the appearance of a true opened urchin. Delightful and savory these Urchin Bites are a playful way to showcase some delicious sushi-grade uni and tuna.
Uni, the Japanese word for “sea urchin,” is kind of like the foie gras of the sea. Although intimidating to some, the key to enjoying uni is the same as with all seafood—freshness is key. If you’ve had a traumatic experience with uni, it’s probably because it was not of utmost freshness. Depending on the variety, diet, and gender, good uni is firm, but melts in your mouth with its rich and creamy sweetness. In fact, it should taste like a luxurious, slightly sweetened butter, with a hint of the sea. This makes it a perfect accompaniment to other types of seafood.
We love garnishing our Urchin Bites with some salmon roe for a dash of color, and a literal pop of savoriness. This is a fun dish to play around with – sushi-grade salmon or even sliced scallops would make perfect substitutes for the Bluefin tuna if you’re looking to get experimental!
Maine Uni and Bluefin Tuna Urchin Bites Recipe Video
• Prep Time: 10 minutes
• Servings: 8-10 appetizer portions
• 1 sheet of nori, thinly sliced
• 1 lb fresh tuna loin or steak, blue fin, ahi, or bigeye
• A tray of uni, 3 pieces per plate
• Salmon Roe, for garnish
• 1 tsp ponzu sauce (or soy sauce), for seasoning Cooking
• A sharp knife
• Kitchen scissors
• Kitchen Tweezers
1. Take one sheet of nori, and cut it into 2-inch wide strips – you should get about 6 strips per sheet. Then, stack the 2-inch wide strips, and, using kitchen scissors, cut them extremely thinly width-wise.
2. Using a paper towel, blot the tuna steak on both sides. Next, dampen a kitchen towel and wipe a very sharp knife on both side so it’s clean and also a little wet – this will help it cut through the tuna’s flesh cleanly. Using strong single strokes, slice the tuna against the grain, into 3-4” wide pieces. Then, cut those pieces in half length-wise, and at a slight angle.
3. Plate two pieces of tuna next to each other. Arrange sliced nori around the tuna so that the nori mimics the spines of a sea urchin. Top the tuna with three tongues of uni. Using your kitchen tweezers, garnish with several pieces of salmon roe. Finally, top with one tsp (or more!) of ponzu or soy sauce, depending on your preference.
4. Serve immediately!
Buy Fresh Maine Urchin Roe (Uni) Online
This recipe was created using SoPo Seafood's fresh Maine Uni. The Maine Sea Urchin season starts in the fall and ends in the spring. During these cold months, divers harvest Sea Urchin from the sea floor in the Gulf of Maine. These Sea Urchins are then taken to Portland, Maine where they are processed.
Our Uni is available to purchase online for delivery to your door or for pick up at our retail fish market in South Portland.