Over the years, if it lived in seawater, I've tried to eat it. Not to say I tried everything even once and certainly not three times, but I do sort of have that scavengers approach to food.
Still, one thing that has never made sense to me is abalone sashimi. I admit it. I tried it more than once. I'd cut out the nicest strips from the freshest abalone or a frozen one, but each time it was tough and had a marginal flavor. You'd think I'd learn. The other day I was at my buddy John's house. It was to be another Abalone Macadamia cooking expedition. Developing our own version of a Personal Bloatation Device.
I brought over a defrosted 8 1/2 inch red fatty, which should have provided enough steaks to feed us both comotose and then some.
I had cleaned out the shell and the guts and had trimmed the entire abalone foot. A cleaned foot can be as hard as a brick, but sometimes (maybe 1 in 4) it can be pretty soft. It does not determine the final toughness of the cooked abalone.
Somewhere near the end of the Mayacamus and after the crab cocktail, but before the Berringer and Dominas, I was in the process of cutting the cleaned foot into steaks. This abalone foot was so soft towards the inside that it made it a bit difficult to cut properly. This was an extraordinarily tender abalone, softer than most any I remember. What can one more try hurt? I cut out some of the most tender part. The softest part was only the very center of the abalone. Oh yah!. This was the stuff. John said it was as soft as yellowtail and had a really good flavor. I thought it was softer than that and had a great flavor. It was very different in taste from what I had had before. It was very interesting. We both ate a fair amount, but it is only a small part of the abalone.
So the secret of abalone sashimi is to find that very unusual soft abalone (perhaps 1 in 7 or so) and the cut the center of the abalone out. Piece of cake. Try it yourself tonight. Serve with wine or sake.
The dinner was a smash and there was abalone left over for scrambled eggs the next morning.
Enjoy the dining, seahunt
For detailed instructions on abalone preparation start to finish.
We went avacado picking before dinner and pretty much gobbled ripe ones all evening.
I say start the wine early and let it breath.
Cook it just so.
Present it complete with no more distraction than wine and wild rice.