How to Cook Abalone

To prepare abalone, it must be shucked, cleaned, and tenderized or the meat will have a rubbery texture. The abalone attaches to its shell with a solid round muscle at the bottom. To gently release the meat from the shell, a wide, flat, wooden spatula works well. It is sometimes soaked, blanched, or frozen prior to shelling. The viscera (guts), black edges, and tough outer skin is then removed. All parts are edible, but eating these trimmed pieces is a matter of taste and careful preparation so they're often discarded. The cleaned abalone meat needs to be tenderized, often by pounding it whole or as thick-cut steaks; it can also be done with long, slow cooking methods. The delicate flesh will pick up the flavor of other foods it's cooked with, so seasoning is generally light. Treated carefully as a delicacy, abalone is often gently and quickly fried in a pan, though it may be steamed or poached. It is also eaten raw, particularly in Japanese sashimi.

New Information about Abalone

Like other gastropods, the abalone shell is part of its body. It is considered an exoskeleton, protecting it during low tides and from predators and other bodily harm. The shell grows as the abalone grows. Abalone shells are made of calcium carbonate. The innermost layer is made of a specific type of calcium carbonate called nacre, or mother-of-pearl, which in the past was widely used for jewelry and other decorative arts. Abalone are mostly sedentary and exceptionally strong. They cling to rocks while waiting for a piece of kelp to drift nearby. The abalone clamps down on the kelp with its foot and then munches on algae with its radula — a tongue-like band with many small teeth.

What Is Abalone

Abalone is a gastropod mollusk that lives in coastal saltwater. A member of the Haliotidae family, it ranges in size from 4 to 10 inches. Like other univalve snails, it has a single shell on top and uses a large foot to cling to rocks and eat algae. The abalone shell is flat and spiral-shaped with several small holes around the edges. Its other names include ear shells and sea ears because of its shell shape. The interior of the shell is an iridescent mother of pearl (nacre) pattern that is as prized as the meat it protects.

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