Author's note: Article updated 1.10.21
If you're mad for molluscs have you learnt how to cook abalone yet? The curious looking, yet delicious shellfish that's prized around the world for its sweet and salty notes with a whack of umami.
Abalone can be eaten both raw and cooked and makes an excellent addition to any sophisticated menu for seafood lovers.
Here's a closer look at the must try mollusc, including how to cook abalone.
What is an Abalone?
Abalones are a gastropod mollusc belonging to the Haliotidae family, which means they are related to whelks and sea slugs, and there are a huge 130 varieties worldwide.
Unlike mussels, and other bi-valves like oysters encased in two shells, abalone are univalves, and as such have just one protective shell (with a stunning mother of pearl like interior), with one suction side exposed, which is how they attach themselves to rocks.
Hugely popular in the US in the 20th century, to their detriment, sourcing abalone sustainably remains a challenge. However, they're slowly making a comeback and attracting chef interest not only for their delicate flavour, but also for their capacity to be sustainably farmed.
Case in point being Chef Tim Butler of Eat Me and Esenzi in Thailand who has found himself gravitating towards abalone as his new favourite ingredient: "It’s a great product because not only is it diverse, but it’s also very sustainable being raised in farms with very low impact on the environment," like Monterrey Bay Abalone in California.
How to Clean Abalone?
Cleaning abalone means removing the meat from the shell, as well as tenderising the meat. See how below:
How to Cook Abalone?
Abalone can be found on some of the menus of the best restaurants around the world, including Dan Hunter's Brae restaurant in Australia where he serves black lipped abalone in a clear stock with calamari, broccoli and blue mackerel, while Italian chef Umberto Bombana has served carpaccio of New Zealand red abalone, confit for almost two days and very thinly sliced and Korean chef Jungsik Yim, included braised abalone with seaweed-anchovy dressing on his tasting menu at an event in Singapore recently.
The easiest method way to cook abalone is to fry them with a little butter for two minutes on each side, or the traditional California method of shucking and breading them then pounding, slicing, sautéeing and finishing with a final squeeze of lemon.
Check out the Monterey Abalone Company for a variety of more robust recipes, from abalone chowder to abalone hamburgers.