My family has been enjoying abalone for many years. It is quite a delicacy.
My parents’ friend, Ken Cole, used to give us abalone that he had retrieved from his abalone dives. He invited our family to join him, his family and other friends on an abalone dive years ago. My sister and I were quite young. We went up to Point Arena, California in Mendocino County. We hiked down a cliff to the beach in faint morning light. After there was more daylight my mom was shocked to see how steep the cliff was. She said we came down a cliff that only billy goats could climb. Even then, the Fish & Game Patrol had strict restrictions on the number of abalone you could get and how to transport it.
Years later my sister met a girl at her work whose brother dove for abalone quite often and would give my sister abalone. We would get together and have quite a feast. We like it best lightly breaded and sautéed.
My sister Lori lives in Texas now and when she comes to California for a visit she likes to make a trip to Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and splurges on an abalone meal. She likes to go to the Abalonetti Seafood Restaurant, and requests that the abalone be breaded and sautéed. My mother and I usually try and join her. The meal is always delicious and we savor every bite.
For my mother’s birthday last November, we purchased four live abalones from Monterey Abalone Company, and had it sent by UPS Next Day Air from Monterey, California to my sister’s house in Texas.
They were farm raised, averaged about 4 years old, and weighed about a pound a piece with their shells. My mom was sure surprised! Then the work began. First we had to remove the abalone from their shells. This was no easy task.
The abalone really suctioned themselves onto their shells. We used large spoons to pry the meat out of the shells.
We then tried to slice the meat in uniform slices. The abalone meat is very hard and tough and needs to be tenderized, so we pounded the abalone with a cooking mallet. Lori then breaded and sautéed the abalone.
We had quite a plateful. It was so good, we ate until we were stuffed.
Here is a recipe that I got off the Monterey Abalone Company’s website and is almost identical to the recipe that we use.
- 1 lb. Abalone
- 1 egg – slightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 3/4 cup sifted seasoned dry breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cut the abalone into 1/4 inch thick steaks across the grain and pound to tenderize. Mix the egg and milk and beat slightly. Place mixture in a shallow plate. In a second plate, place the breadcrumbs. Dip the abalone in the egg wash and then coat in the breadcrumbs. When the oil is hot sauté the abalone steaks for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.