The scientific term for abalone is Haliotis
ruber or H.laevigata. Based on whether it has a dark lip or green lip.
On the other hand it could be H.tuberculata (from the Atlantic) or
H.lamellosa (from the Mediterranean), or H.rufescens, the real abalone
or red abalone, fished in the southern area of Californian waters.
The term 'abalone' is actually the Californian Spanish term for the
species referred to as 'sea ears'. One glance at the attractive shells
will explain why. These much-sought-after mollusks with a firm structure
and delicate taste could be bought fresh, canned or dried.
Supposing you are prepared to pay the selling price for fresh abalone, 2
to 3 times the price of high quality eye fillet, you must be ready to
tackle it with scouring brush and sharpened cutting knife. The sharp
knife is required to eradicate the intestines and frilly external rim
and the brush to scrub away the dark layer from the foot (white fleshy
portion), which can be the edible area. This part is muscle tissue,
which the abalone tenses whenever wrenched from the rock, therefore it
is essential to cut it into paper-thin pieces, against the grain and
after that beat the slices using a mallet until tender. After that,
decide whether you would like your abalone short-cooked or long cooked.
The first method generally is a matter of a couple of seconds, the
second involves many hours of gently simmering.
Processed abalone can vary in tenderness based on the processing,
Japanese brands generally being the finest but also the costliest. Slice
finely and add to cooked dishes at the final moment, because it requires
no further cooking. Or marinate the pieces in soy sauce, mirin, several
drops of sesame oil and pinch of sugar and serve as part of a cold hors
d'oeuvre. Do not throw away the liquid inside the can either; add it to
soups for a delicious flavor.
Dried abalone has to be soaked for four days, scrubbed clean and
trimmed, simmered for around 4 hours, drained, rinsed, cut and sliced
prior to using. Everything is quite difficult and processed or fresh
abalone produces much better results.