The firm flesh of abalones is highly prized in Asian circles, and is central to some of the best Oriental seafood recipes.
Abalone meat can be stir-fried, pan-fried, poached, steamed or stewed. However, it is considered by some to be best when eaten raw, in thin strips with wasabi and soy sauce.
Another option is braised abalone. With its absorbent texture that draws other flavours beautifully, braised abalone is traditionally prepared in the Cantonese cooking style using garlic, ginger and oyster sauce. If deep frying, the fritter is superb topped with a herb mayonnaise or minced into patties and coated with crumbs of garlic and onion. Citrus-marinated abalone combines well with shallots and parsley when pan-fried in oil or butter. Abalone also makes a wonderful addition to salads.
The best way to avoid loss of flavour and to tenderise the meat is to use the slow stewing style of cooking. Alternatively, fry it quickly on a high heat, or serve raw.
Canned abalone can be purchased from Chinese and other stores that sell imported Asian goods. It has a firm texture and does not need to be cooked. Drain the flesh, cut it up and add to a soup, casserole or stir-fry.
To Buy Blacklip Abalone
Available in the shell (live or frozen), or as meat (frozen and vacuum-packed, or dried).
To Store Blacklip Abalone
Abalone can be kept live for up to 3 days if stored in a deep-sided bucket covered with a hessian sack soaked in water and kept in the coolest part of the house. Alternatively, refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18°C (-0.4°F).
To Cook Blacklip Abalone
See also : How to Clean Abalone and How to Prepare Abalone
Average yield is 35%. Use a short-bladed knife to slide around the edge between the flesh and the shell, remove meat and cut off intestine (the small sack attached to the underside). Rinse and dry. Cut off the small piece of gristle at the head end (next to the small antennas), trim off the frill and lip, turn over and cut a thin layer off the surface of the foot where it attached to the rock; trim all surfaces of any dark material. Under cold running water, using a small paring knife, scrape off the brown film remaining on the sides. Slice horizontally and tenderize by placing between two freezer bags and beating lightly with a meat mallet. Abalone’s main feature is its firm texture; it is low in oil and has a medium flavour and moisture. It is best cooked very quickly over a high heat (for just a few seconds) or braised very slowly (for up to 6 hours, depending on size).
Blacklip Abalone Cooking Methods
Steam, Poach, Pan-Fry, Stir-Fry, Barbecue, Braise, Raw (Sashimi). The cleaned shell can be used as a cooking vessel, especially if steaming, and as a serving vessel.
Blacklip Abalone goes well with
The meat absorbs flavours well during cooking and is usually paired with simple flavours such as pan-frying in butter and parsley with a squeeze of lemon, or braising in oyster sauce with garlic and ginger.
Abalone Nutrition and Summary
Abalone not only tastes great, but also an excellent source of many vital nutrients. In Asian cultures, abalone has long been appreciated for its health benefits, including healthy eyes and skin.
Farmed abalone is low in fat and a good source of omega 3, iodine and phosphorous (phosphate). Omega 3 contains anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the risk of heart disease and arthritis symptoms and are believed to reduce the risk of developing cancers. Iodine is an essential mineral for the healthy function of the thyroid gland which regulates healthy body development, in particular the central nervous system. Phosphorous helps protect the blood’s transports energy.
Flavour : Mild to Strong
Oiliness : Low
Moisture : Moist
Habitat : Saltwater
Texture : Firm
Flesh : Both raw and cooked forms have cream-coloured meat with a black, brown or apple-green frill.
Thickness : n/a
Bones : No
Season : Wild stock is harvested year round, farmed is harvested mainly in summer.
Size and Weight : Live Abalone is 250-300 g (8¾-10½ oz) when fully grown, with the shell measuring 13-17 cm (5-6½”).
Price : One of Australia’s most highly valued fisheries products, live it often retails for around A$100/kg.
Family : Haliotidae (abalones).
Other Names : Muttonfish
Relations : There are 18 Abalone species in Australian waters including Greenlip Abalone, Tiger Abalone (a hybrid of Blacklip and Greenlip), Brownlip Abalone and Roe’s Abalone. New Zealand Paua is also an Abalone.
Bailer Shell – Sold whole. Look for brightly coloured, intact, lustrous shells, firm flesh, and a pleasant fresh sea smell.
Squids, Calamari and Cuttlefish – Their firm texture means Squids, Calamari and Cuttlefish can also sometimes be substituted for Abalone – The meat of squid and cuttlefish is firm like that of abalone. It is also suited to similar cooking methods, requiring either a long slow cook (for as long as 3 hours) or a quick grill or fry on high heat (for as little as 3 minutes) to yield tender eating qualities. High quality fresh squid, calamari or cuttlefish can be thinly sliced to serve raw.
Octopus – The flesh of octopus is firm, but when cooked correctly is yielding and tender. It is meaty flesh, with many characteristics similar to that of Abalone. After poaching the tentacles, try slicing them and pan frying to give a result very similar to well-prepared Abalone.
When making substitutions in baking and cooking, you may end up with a somewhat different product. The taste, moisture content, texture and weight of a product can be affected by changing ingredients.