Here in Santa Cruz, CA. we are lucky to have a sustainable abalone farm that is open to the public on Saturdays. My mom and step-dad came to visit and picked up some live ones for dinner.
They are taken out of tanks, placed onto foam pads, oxygenated and sealed in a big plastic bag and tied with zipties. It comes with an instruction sheet on how to remove, clean and cook abalone.
This is a view of its face and head. Sort of slug-like. The photo is cloudy because it is the plastic bag in front of the abalone.
The foam is neccessary so that the abalone do not suction onto the hard surface. It is important to immediately kill and clean the meat. You can put the cleaned meat into the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap for up to a week. We wanted to take advantage of sashimi grade abalone and eat it the same day. It is important to let the abalone meat rest and tenderize as when you kill the abalone, it takes a few hours for the meat to relax. It’s best not to ponder about this too much.
We have an oyster shucking knife and my husband pried them out and cut away the meat from the internal organs. Getting under the body to dislodge the foot is challenging. You must clean the body off under running water. I used a little sea salt, too, as an abrasive.
We went for an hour long hike, went to have some beers, and then went shopping for dinner. The first thing I did was take the abalone out of the fridge, rinsed them, and sliced them in halves. I tenderized the abalone by putting each slice in on a clean towel and folded the towel over to cover it. I used a large rolling pin to gently tap it flat. My husband and step dad wanted to try it, but they were too heavy handed and the flesh broke. Anyway, they let me finish tenderizing the rest. I rinsed then again.
Sorry. I literally added minced garlic to my skillet, threw in the sliced abalone, counted to 20, flipped them over, added a tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine, counted to 15 and removed them to the cutting board.
I sliced the abalone into thin strips, added a drop of horseradish-parsley pistou, and sauce from the skillet and served in its shell. (Clean the shells first by boiling them in water with a little salt for 10 minutes. Do this well in advance.)
Here is the final dish.
And the rest of dinner…Roasted Purple potatoes, grilled salmon, spiced coleslaw, and salmon skin garnish.
The abalone were EXPENSIVE! Each medium size abalone were $10. The salmon was local caught King Salmon. Super delicious!
We made that into breakfast hash with this morning and ate that over fried eggs in a basket. Passion fruit is still in season, so I ate a whole one!
For more info about abalone, see http://www.americanabalone(dot)net