The taste of Abalone, namely, its taste in proportion to its astronomical price, was a bewilderment to my childhood days as a Kumon arithmetimagician! Upwards of $75USD/ pound gross weight, a single abalone would fetch in the $300-500USD+ range for some chewy, braised, doused in cornstarch and mushroom XO sauce. But was it the lack of talent in the kitchen that I was unable to appreciate? Or my naïveté to one of the finest ingredients in the world? Whatever the case, I used to stare at my relatives as they gobbled it up at 12 course tasting menus and wonder what was so good…and if I could forgo the abalone and get a Sega Game Gear. It wasn’t until my enlightenment some 20 years later that my green glasses became transfixed on Red.
Raw, Red, Abalone.
When I had it prepared that special way – not braised inadequately – NOT chewy – not poor quality baby farm-raised abalone. But crunchy, full of natural, fresh sea flavor, that my appreciation and my willingness to pay (in time, gas, and sweat-equity) turned full circle. It was one of the few dishes in my life – up there with Florence Meat Market’s(NYC Zagat rating: 29) Prime Dry-Aged rib steak that changed my perspective of food in relation to ingredient quality.
Get the best ingredient possible. Don’t fuck it up.
For the longest time however, the 12 hour drive up windy roads was never appealing to capture a sea-snail that was barely mobile. What was the fun in that? It didn’t need to be chased – simply pried from the rock. But the fun? Every slice, every cut. Every glorious bite of abalone. But after the taste, I would gladly dive the Great White Shark-infested, 40 degree water for a taste of heaven. So put your excuses aside, follow these steps, and dive in.
Make the 12 hour drive from Los Angeles to Northern California up windy (but beautiful) roads
chill by the beach on the drive up, and watch the sunsets
enjoy the journey, it could be your last (there’s a number of Great White Sharks)
freeeeeze your ass off in 40 degree air, Get naked. (there’s no abs, just rolls from all this Dominos pizza dont worry).
don a wetsuit, jump in! freeze your ass off in 40 degree water. There were underwater pictures of the water because when you stuck your hand out you couldn’t see the tips of your fingers, the visibility was wretched. Get your abalone.
Cut the skirt off, and save for a stock or braise
cut down the middle and remove the crown(circular top); cut on slight bias. After cutting put in the fridge to let it firm up.
Abalone will be crunchy but not chewy. serve on Tamaki gold or other premium quality rice w/ Ponzu, scallions, slight wasabi. This is imo, the best way to serve Abalone.
Simple things in life = 🙂 #PursuitofFood