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Old 05-22-2009, 07:46 PM   #1
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Wink Abalone

Here's a video slideshow for you:

How to prepare a fresh caught abalone and turn them into fork tender and mouth watering melt in your mouth abalone steaks:


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Old 05-22-2009, 08:02 PM   #2
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Bull! I grew up at the beach in San Diego, as did my father. Abalone was cheap meat in our house, usually eaten as burgers. We literally had mounds of abalone shells in our back yard -- 100s if not 1000s of them -- and I still have the shell to the first ab I ever took, an 8-inch green.

In those days (early 60s) we could get them in waist-deep water in Bird Rock, or simply by overturning the rocks along Point Loma. And it was even easier when my dad was a kid. And my mom talked about plucking them off the rocks at low tide on Vancouver Island when she was a kid.

In any case, suffice it to say there was NOTHING we didn't know about catching or preparing abalone.

First, the abalone is alive when it's taken from the shell. The Japanese know how to kill it and put it out of its misery with a quick stab of the knife, but we just gave it a few quick whacks with a mallet. Seems cruel to slice off its innards when it's still kicking.

Second, AFAIK there is no such thing as the "protective liquids" -- pure nonsense, IMHO. Gut it, wash it off, and you're good to go.

Third, I have NEVER seen anyone slice abalone that way; it's ALWAYS sliced parallel to the bottom of the shell. The way this guy cuts it would be like slicing brisket WITH the grain. Idiocy!

But he cooks it correctly. And it's also good sauteed plain.

A decent ab dinner now runs maybe $65 or more. I once bought one for my MIL, who had never had the stuff, and she thought it was band! Truth be told, she was right. But it made **** good burgers in the 1960s and before!
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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Hi Scotch,
Thanks for your comments!
We have been ab hunting since the 60's along the northern coast near pt. arena, getting reds. We slice the "foot" of the ab into steaks which are 10" long. We like eating the steaks, and do not make burgers with ours..glad you enjoy them a different way!
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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Make that enjoyED! Ain't no abs to be had no more down here, unless you go 60 feet or more! Too old for that. Too expensive in the few restaurants that have them, and often it's just canned stuff from the far east.
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Old 06-30-2009, 02:15 AM   #5
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I've heard abalone is really good but pretty hard to come by now days, and if you do it's pretty expensive.

Question though,
what's the texture like?
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:40 AM   #6
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Abalone is one big, strong muscle that the single-shelled mollusk uses to attach itself to rocks; the bottom is essentially a big suction cup, and the muscle pulls up to maintain suction when it's under attack. The muscle on a 7- or 8-inch ab is about 6 inches across and 2 inches thick -- nearly the entire creature other than the shell and a small gut sack. They are not stationary but move around like snails, only more slowly.

The trick is to slip your iron (a flat piece of steel about an inch wide and a foot long with a beveled end) under the shell and pry the ab off the rock before it has time to hunker down. Once it does, it's very difficult to get your iron under the shell and to remove the ab from the rock. Otters and other creatures that like to dine on abs have the same problem. Also, the ab has to be strong enough to withstand the pounding of heavy surf. Anyway, they're tough creatures.

Because of this, the texture of abalone meat is like leather -- unless you know how to prepare it. Done right, it's very tender with a sweet taste somewhat like scallops, only milder. It has to be sliced about ¼ to ⅓ inch thick and then pounded with a mallet until it's tender. But too much pounding and you'll cut it to shreds and end up with abalone-flavored mush.
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Old 06-30-2009, 08:55 PM   #7
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Hi Scotch,

We just got back from abbing, got the limit of 3 again. No really big ones, says my hubby, only about 8 1/2 " or so..a lot of talk in changing the season for abaloneing, maybe even closing it. Currently, to even take any abs, you have to abide by some new changes to the process of bringing your catch in. Zip ties, yellow tags, must be attached to each ab shell and noted with a waterproof pen marker specific info. There are regular checkpoints along the Coast where the Fish and Game Wardens will direct a random sample of vehicles to pull over to a check point. There a couple of the officers will do a preliminary question/answer process and ask to see your ab license, and card, plus have a look at your gear and your place of storage of the abs you're taking down the road. It was about a 20 minute stop for us last week, then we were on our way. There must have been about 18-20 wardens doing the checkpoint that morning. As long as you are not undersized or over the possession limit, you're a-ok..
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:32 PM   #8
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Where do you dive?
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:23 PM   #9
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:05 PM   #10
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How taste is it?? I've never tried Abalone before. It's quiet expensive for me!!
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:18 PM   #11
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I live on the east coast and have never seen abalone in our grocery stores. Is it sold to retail stores or only to high end restraunts?
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Thaicooking View Post
How taste is it?? I've never tried Abalone before. It's quiet expensive for me!!
See response #6 above.
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:32 PM   #13
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I live on the east coast and have never seen abalone in our grocery stores. Is it sold to retail stores or only to high end restraunts?
I believe abalone is strictly a Pacific Ocean thing. There was a time it was sold in some markets near the beach (I recall one little store in La Jolla that bought it from divers), but in the last 30 years or so it's been available mostly only in good seafood restaurants, AFAIK, or from the divers who catch it. There are severe limits these days on how many you can take, their size, etc., and the remaining abs tend to be in pretty deep water anymore.

There are a few "abalone farms," including this one on the Central Coast: The Abalone Farm - Cayucos, California - Featuring Ocean Rose Abalone However, I seem to recall that the farmed abs are on the small size because they grow so slowly.

Here's what you get for $75: "The 1 lb. Gift Pack includes 1 lb net weight of tenderized, vacuum packed abalone steaks, 4 cleaned abalone shells and recipes. Steaks are 1.0-1.25 oz each. This gift pack serves 2-4 people. Price does not include overnight shipping."
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Scotch View Post
I believe abalone is strictly a Pacific Ocean thing. There was a time it was sold in some markets near the beach (I recall one little store in La Jolla that bought it from divers), but in the last 30 years or so it's been available mostly only in good seafood restaurants, AFAIK, or from the divers who catch it. There are severe limits these days on how many you can take, their size, etc., and the remaining abs tend to be in pretty deep water anymore.

There are a few "abalone farms," including this one on the Central Coast: The Abalone Farm - Cayucos, California - Featuring Ocean Rose Abalone However, I seem to recall that the farmed abs are on the small size because they grow so slowly.

Here's what you get for $75: "The 1 lb. Gift Pack includes 1 lb net weight of tenderized, vacuum packed abalone steaks, 4 cleaned abalone shells and recipes. Steaks are 1.0-1.25 oz each. This gift pack serves 2-4 people. Price does not include overnight shipping."
OUCH!!
Wow that's expensive!! I think I'll stick with scallops
Thanks for the reply scotch.
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Old 07-30-2009, 05:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appletart View Post
Here's a video slideshow for you:

How to prepare a fresh caught abalone and turn them into fork tender and mouth watering melt in your mouth abalone steaks:

Being a grandson of a Portugese woman, she showed me how to hit an abolone once, in the "star" of the muscle, and no pounding is necessary. You put 5 or 6 nails around the outside perimeter of the meat, then feel for the spot where all the muslces meet near or around the center of the body of the animal. Put your finger on that spot and hit it ONCE HARD with a hammer. Be sure to remove your finger just before you strike. Voilá. The muscles all relax and you will see the meat rise up on the nails.

Now you can really cut an abalone steak. Enjoy.
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:36 PM   #16
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Being a grandson of a Portugese woman, she showed me how to hit an abolone once, in the "star" of the muscle, and no pounding is necessary. You put 5 or 6 nails around the outside perimeter of the meat, then feel for the spot where all the muslces meet near or around the center of the body of the animal. Put your finger on that spot and hit it ONCE HARD with a hammer. Be sure to remove your finger just before you strike. Voilá. The muscles all relax and you will see the meat rise up on the nails.

Now you can really cut an abalone steak. Enjoy.
Marty
That may work, although I never could do it, nor could my dad, who hunted abs for 60 years. Moreover, I don't believe that there is a "spot where all the muscles meet" -- I'm pretty sure, based on having processed a few hundred of the things, that abalone have only one muscle, the foot muscle; one end attaches the animal to its shell and the other is used to attach the animal to a rock.

In any case, in my experience (and my dad's), whacking the muscle once it was removed from the shell and the guts had been trimmed away never caused it to relax very much, certainly not enough for eating. Rather, we sliced it and then pounded the slices to tenderize them, as you would a boneless chicken breast. Done properly, the meat is fork tender when cooked.

This is an interesting site with a lot of information about abalones, including some good photos:

Abalone: Introduction
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:17 PM   #17
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That may work, although I never could do it, nor could my dad, who hunted abs for 60 years. Moreover, I don't believe that there is a "spot where all the muscles meet" -- I'm pretty sure, based on having processed a few hundred of the things, that abalone have only one muscle, the foot muscle; one end attaches the animal to its shell and the other is used to attach the animal to a rock.

In any case, in my experience (and my dad's), whacking the muscle once it was removed from the shell and the guts had been trimmed away never caused it to relax very much, certainly not enough for eating. Rather, we sliced it and then pounded the slices to tenderize them, as you would a boneless chicken breast. Done properly, the meat is fork tender when cooked.

This is an interesting site with a lot of information about abalones, including some good photos:

Abalone: Introduction
Hi Scotch,
Well, I was taught how to "feel" that sweet spot. You move your fingers around the top of the nailed meet. If you pull up slightly you will find stands of connecting tissue between your fingers. They all meet in one spot somewhat centered. That is what my grandmother called "the star". That is the one spot you must hit exactly to relax all of the abalone's muscles and attachments. It works. Seen it. Done it recently.

Your and your dad's way works, too, but just more labor intensive. Plus, you have to beat your steaks pretty thin. With a good size abalone, you can get 2 inch thick steak slices, bigger than a calamari steak, using my grandma's technique. Remember, she was Portugese.

Unfortunately the big ones I remember as a kid are all gone. Near Fort Bragg, California, we used to pop them off the rocks using tire irons. Boy, were those the days for finding abs. We didn't over collect, but they were there for anyone who wanted them.

Marty
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:20 PM   #18
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That certainly sounds like a technique worth learning. I've never heard of anyone serving or eating a 2-inch-thick slice of ab. Perhaps you should make a YouTube video.
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