Reading the Amish Grandmother's cookbook thread took me back many decades. When I was a young boy my Portugese grandmother showed me how to release the muslces of an abalone with one stroke of a hammer.
We would carefully cut all the meat off the shell and clean all the guts. She was very meticulous. She would put 5 or 6 nail into the outside perimeter of the cleaned muscle. Mind you, in those days this was a big piece of meat. She would then feel around the middle section of the raised, tense muscle. She would then find what she called the "star" of the abalone muscle. More than once she would let me feel this "star". It was hard and felt like a little starfish.
She would put her left forefinger right on the star. With her finger in that position, she would take a claw hammer and gave that star one, good "wack". It was fun to watch how she pulled her left hand's finger out of the way at the last moment.
The abalone muscle would relax, and it would flatten and slide up the nails. You could cut big steaks out of the abalone meat, and it was tender and wonderful to eat.
Has anyone else had this experience. Has anyone seen someone do this amazing feat? I have tried it many times, but I can't seem to find that "star". Is there some help out there?
Now of course I don't have any of those huge abalone's to prepare, but the smaller ones available now should also have that "star".
A real abalone steak puts a calamari steak to shame.