Posted by: acooksca | 05/08/2009

Abalone Steaks

If you are fortunate enough to have wild or farm raised abalone in the shell, then you will have the experience of cleaning it. Abalone cleaning needs some explaining. This video “How to make abalone steaks” will help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTIxNQjQRlI&feature=related

Preparing Abalone

Preparing Abalone

Farm raised abalone comes to you live in the shell or cleaned and easy to handle. Check the links below as each company offers abalone in a different format. Most abalone recipes ask for tenderized steaks (slices pounded with a flat mallet to break down the connective tissue, without pounding it into mush). Traditionally, steaks are coated in egg, flour or crumbs and fried, in the method used Ella Anderson in the article The Central Coast and Abalone. Success is based on a tender steak, so pound it well and cook it just a minute or two so the meat doesn’t toughen.

The West Coast Cook Book (edited by Helen Brown, 1952) has a recipe for Cypress Point Abalone Cubes. The cook is asked to “slice the steaks about ½-inch thick and thump each slice gently with a bottle until it has relaxed.” The cubes are tossed in flour then deep fried coated in a batter made of egg yolks, beer, milk, melted butter, flour, salt, baking powder and beaten egg whites.

The Los Angeles Times California Cookbook (edited by Betsy Balsley, 1981) contains several recipes, including Abalone Stuffed with Crabmeat. Cooked crab is seasoned with shallots, salt, white pepper, dry mustard, lemon and Worcestershire. It is bound with a butter-flour-milk white sauce and kept warm. Abalone steaks are coated with egg, flour and quickly browned in butter. A spoonful of crab is placed on each steak which is rolled and placed seam side down on a serving platter.

Extra trim and bits of abalone (white parts only) can be ground, mixed with egg, bread crumbs, bell pepper and celery, much like crab cakes. Most abalone chowder recipes call for cubes of tenderized meat, so you still need to go to the work of pounding.

The only recipe I have seen that avoids all that cleaning and pounding is one for whole fire-baked abalone. Build a large wood fire on a beach and set the abalone, still in their shells, onto red hot coals. When the shells crumble away from the meat, about 45 minutes to an hour, remove from the fire, cut away all charred parts and eat the white meat cut into chunks. Sounds primitive, but in a pinch it could work

Ella’s Abalone Steaks, Pure and Simple

12 abalone steaks, pounded to tenderized
1 1/2 cup flour with 1 tsp. salt and a dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
Lemon wedges

In a large fry pan heat the Crisco over medium-high until bubbling. Dredge the steaks in the flour and shake off excess. Fry the steaks just until golden on each side. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Abalone Steaks with Crumb Coating

12 abalone steaks, pounded to tenderized
1 1/2 cup flour with 1 tsp. salt and a dash cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
2 cups Panko bread crumbs (or fine cracker crumbs)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil

Dredge the abalone steaks in the flour, shake off excess. Dip in the egg and drip off excess. Coat gently with the crumbs. In a large fry pan over medium, heat the butter and oil until hot. Fry the steaks a few at a time until golden (about 1 minute per side).
Serve at once with lemon wedges or a lemon butter sauce if you prefer.

Cook’s Note: Order farm raised California Red Abalone from:
The Abalone Farm: http://www.abalonefarm.com/ .
American Abalone: http://americanabalone.com/index.htm
Giovannis Fish Market: http://www.giovannisfishmarket.com/
Or check in the frozen seafood section of an Asian market, they often have abalone from other regions as well such as Australia or Mexico, both in and out of the shell (try your local China Town)

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