Stinky Cheeses, Clotted Creams and Uni Paninis

2011/01/06 § 8 Comments

Met up with friends for drinks at the Grand Central Station and decided to drop by the Grand Central Market before taking the train home…

I love markets!  Especially markets like this where I feel as if every stall has something I need.  Okay, maybe not need,  just want. I wasn’t planning on buying anything.  Just wanted to look and marvel at the produce and the products and dream… (of possibly tasting every single thing someday?  When I win the lotto, I’d do just that)

But I wandered to the cheese stall….and decided to get some stinky camembert for breakfast.  (My poor seatmate in the train had to endure the “aroma” til I got off).  Having purchased cheese, I had to go get a baguette as well.  I was drooling at honeycombs…and buttermilk…til I saw a jar of clotted cream.  Aha!  It’s so difficult to find clotted cream in New York.  I am aghast that Green Grape Provisions and Brooklyn Fare (nearest “gourmet” groceries to me) don’t have it.  I actually have to travel to Zabar’s in the far west to get some.  I have no tea parties planned in the very near future…but clotted cream shelf life is quite long.  Better to have one now than to scrounge around again when tea party time comes.

And then I saw three lonely urchins.  Sea urchins on their bed of kelp.  And I thought I better bring them home.   So I did.

I was so excited with my bag of loot from the market, I could hardly wait for the morrow to try my unis.   Next day, I had the stinky cheese and jam for breakfast and decided to make my own version of uni panini for lunch.  I’ve been meaning to go to El Quinto Pino for so long for its famous uni panini but have sadly never been.  And I have never tried uni with bread either.  So I’m making my own version.

I cut the spiky shell open…

Extract the firm and fleshy uni inside.  Toasted my baguette lightly right on top of the flames.  (Was too lazy to take out my grill/panini press).  Spread just a tiny bit of butter, stuffed bread with uni and added tiny bit of wasabi (as I did not have the spicy mustard oil used in El Quinto Pino).  Et voila – my own version of uni panini!

My, my.   It was everything I expected an uni dish to be.  Creamy, rich, with that hint of heat and spice from the wasabi.   Ah…heaven.   I do not credit myself with anything here except to put all the ingredients together.  Good bread and good uni makes all the difference.

What an unexpected pleasure from a leisurely detour…



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§ 8 Responses to Stinky Cheeses, Clotted Creams and Uni Paninis

  • karlo says:

    Interesting… uni panini. I’ll have to file that in my “must try someday” folder!

    I love markets, too! We don’t really have any cool permanent markets here. Well, there’s the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco, but it’s 45 miles away from my house and it’s quite small. My favorite is the Granville Island market in Vancouver, BC. Pike Place in Seattle is great, too, but it’s not “gourmet” like the Ferry Building or Grand Central.

    The good thing is that there are farmers’ markets all over the place in the Bay Area, especially on weekends. Artisanal cheese, bread, sausages, patés, smoked duck breast. Oy! I’m getting hungry!

    • You should really try it, Karlo. Sooo good! Re markets – I can stay inside for hours and hours just looking around. Ha ha. My favorite is Fox & Obel in Chicago. I feel that it’s complete and has every single gourmet thing I “need.” Zabars is okay but too busy. Lots of tiny and great gourmet markets here but quite incomplete. I want to go to Eataly to check what they have. I love Farmer’s Markets too and I usually go to the one at our park or at Union Square. It’s difficult though in wintertime. I can’t browse leisurely as I’m cold. Ha ha. Nakakagutom talaga to be inside markets. Gusto ko bilhin lahat at ang dami kong naisip na lutuin. Ha ha.

  • wherewander says:

    I´m avoiding those markets right now because … I would go bankrupt!!!!!!!!! I totally love them and end up buying stuff that I don´t need just because I loved the way it was presented LOL
    As for your culinary pieces of art, what can I say? I would have loved to try them!!

    • Hi Ellen! I know what you mean. I seriously want to eat everything in these markets…so I keep saying I’ll drop by just to oggle and not to buy. Ha ha. I prepare and cook the simplest things that I see in magazines or eat in restaurants and think – “hmm, even I can do this, I don’t have to pay this much for this.” If the ingredients are right, they actually end up great. Enjoy your wanderings. Wish I could join you!

  • yixiao says:

    uni panini sounds obscenely good =p

  • Kai says:

    Never knew sea urchins could be palaman for tinapay, haha! Next time I’m on an island, I better bring toasts and some butter!

    • Hi Kai – yes, try it! I always thought the “uni” taste will disappear with bread but it doesnt. Amazing! I’ve already recounted in an earlier post that one time we went to an island with pork chops and fried chicken and we saw a group with a whole sack of urchins. We were so jealous and we went up to them to find out if they were willing to exchange some of theirs for ours. To our delight, they gave us the entire sack and we gave them all our pork chops and chickens as well. Ha ha. Now…if we only had bread that time.

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