I said I was saving the best for last, and yes, it is finally here. The end. El fin. Dessert. It's uni.
Uni is typically grouped with the "roe" family, which is an understandable mistake, since it certainly comes from the inside of the spiny sea urchin. However, the actual thing we eat, the soft, dark yellow ochre colored stuff that sits atop an ovalette of rice, enveloped with a collar of nori is not sea urchin roe. It is the sea urchin's internal organs that produce the roe. What does that mean? It means that uni is a gonad. It can be male (darker) or female (lighter).
I used to shy away from uni because of its appearance - it looks like it would feel somewhat like what I imagine a cat's tongue, and taste like the cat's tongue after it ate a can of Starkist. However, when uni is fresh and of high quality, it is sweet, luscious, and just ever so slightly firm. It should look like whole pieces, not broken and mushy.
Previous lessons at the School of Fish:
Saba - holy mackerel!
Hirame - white fish, sometimes halibut
Tai and Suzuki - snapper and sea bass
Maguro - tuna
Toro - fatty belly of tuna
Shiro Maguro - "white" tuna, aka albacore
Hamachi - amberjack, aka yellowtail
Sake - salmon
Gai - the bivalves, i.e.clams, scallops, and oysters
Ebi - shrimp
Ika and Tako - squid and octopus
Kani - crab
Masago and tobiko - Roe, roe, roe your boat
Ikura - salmon roe