Thanks to my friend Hiro, a true insanefoodie, I was introduced to this very special and exotic seafood – Abalone a.k.a marine seas snails!
Knowing my fascination for the hard to find delicacies, one day he asked me casually – “Do you like abalone?” I didn’t know what the hell it was, but the minute I found out, I was intrigued. And today he got me a fresh catch of the Black Lipped Abalone! I had a hard time getting it into my kitchen (alive that it was), Dee was a bit horrified that my insanities had gone way too far this time!
Now, one can see abalones either as a large shell fish/oyster or as an eyebrow raising sea snail and join the elite cadre of species like Timon & Pumba and feel special you’ve had a meal that’s extra-ordinary; it’s your choice, really!
Abalones, pronounced for some strange reason as “aba-loney” unlike umm Stallone, can be found in shallow waters close to the bay areas in Melbourne. Abalone fishing is restricted to strict numbers and the Green Lip variety is even banned from fishing given it’s endangered status. So if you can get your hands on any Abalone in general, consider yourself extremely privileged! They sell in the fresh food market, i.e. if you can find them, for $50-$60 a kilo.
Did you know Tasmania alone accounts for 25% of the world’s fished Abalone?
Apparently the New Zealand abalones (päua) grow up to much bigger sizes; pretty scary considering the fact I just held a live one in my hand before scooping out the flesh out of the shell! Should it’s monstrous brethren learn of my whereabouts..I shudder!
Anyhow, to avoid any of this preciousness go to waste, I asked Hiro (being the Masterchef that he is) to give me some tips on cooking the Abalone, which he thought does the best justice to this priced seafood!
Step 1: Scoop the flesh out of the shell using a spoon, your abalone is thereafter officially “dead”, I don’t know what better way to put this across..honestly!
Step 2: Clean the underside (facing the shell) by pulling the guts out
Step 3: In a screaming hot pan, add some butter and place the abalone, giving 30 secs on each side, so as to not toughen the meat too much.
Step 4: Add some Japanese soy sauce to the pan, and allow to it burn a little to impart some smokiness. Allow the Abalone to cook for half a minute more.
Step 5: Remove from pan, using a sharp knife, slice the Abalone (width wise).
Step 6: Spoon over the soy sauce from the pan & it is ready to be relished!
Yes, it does smell much like oyster and taste like squid/calamari, but the whole experience and knowing the story behind is satisfying. And for the record, Dee did taste it..Ha!
I look forward to hearing your comments.
Here’s the quick-look Yummy Recipe to keep or share,
- Fresh Black Lip Abalone
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce (Japanese preferred)
- Butter (1/4 knob)
- Scoop the flesh out of the shell using a spoon
- Clean the underside (facing the shell) by pulling the guts out
- In a screaming hot pan, add some butter and place the abalone, giving 30 secs on each side, so
- as to not toughen the meat too much.
- Add little Japanese soy sauce to the pan, and allow to it burn a little to impart some smokiness.
- Allow the Abalone to cook for half a minute more
- Remove from pan, using a sharp knife, slice the Abalone (width wise).
- Spoon over the soy sauce from the pan & it is ready to be relished!