Saturday, 6 September 2014

Abalone on the menu


One of the joys of a coastal idyll is the bounty of the sea, bay and tidal reaches. The first sighting of abalone on the rocks off our favourite swimming beach churned up all the possibilities of seafood adventures. Allow me to share some of our journey to date into enjoying haliotis ... the abalone.

This aquatic mollusc has an edible and highly prized foot muscle and is valued around the world as a delicacy. Eaten cooked and raw it has great diversity in cuisine and tradition. In the wild it may be found on rocks dining on red and brown algae and other vegetarian fair.

legal size Abalone
Great care should be taken when fishing for this creature as many licencing and harvesting rules are in place according to the local jurisdictions. In NSW a minimum size is enforced of 11.7cm as well as a bag limit of 2 per person. In some local areas a recreational limit is placed so that only weekends and public holidays may be observed as legal for abalone catches. Abalone may not be taken from the wild using scuba so free diving and snorkelling are the only way to legally take abalone from our waters.

Cultural references:

Our Mauri neighbours well love their pāua and have a rich legacy of recipes including fritters, steaks, sausages and baked in the shell. The legend of Pāua is such that Tangaroa, the sea god, gifted the lonely Pāua with a coat of many colours as well as the hard camouflage for protection so that his beauty was his own and charged him with the duty of adding more colour to his coat every year. True beauty comes from within.

In the Americas abalone was most esteemed among the Navajo. Echoing a distant past, abalone, as one of the Navajo's four sacred stones and plays a significant role in many of their myths. As one of the four sacred stones, abalone is associated with the creation of the sacred mountains that mark the boundaries of the Navajo homeland, a building material of the first Navajo hogan, and was also a part of the first loom, a vital part of the Navajo culture.

The native peoples of California see abalone is a Spirit Woman who is ever present, front and centre, during  every ceremonies. The chiming of abalone pendants suspended from the ornately decorated dresses worn by the women evokes strong feelings at every ceremony. Multistrand necklaces of abalone are worn by both the men and women. Abalone Woman transformed long ago into a form of wealth and the belief is that she is the feminine form of wealth.

In forms of magick abalone has been used for centuries in jewellery, carvings and as a vessel for offerings and cleansing and embodies all the aspects of the water element including love, beauty, gentleness, caring, comfort, peacefulness, delight and solace as well as romance, fine food, and creativity (especially poetry and music). An abalone amulet may protect the wearer from negativity, especially anger, depression, fear, and/or sadness. An abalone talisman can help you move past negative emotions, bring you in touch with your own inner beauty and will  inspire creativity, especially in writing. Ritually abalone should only be teamed with silver to enhance contact with its attributes.


Nutritionally abalone has a lot to offer as it is very low in Saturated Fat. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Vitamin B12, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin K, Pantothenic Acid and Selenium.

Abalone is highly regarded for its health benefits and is believed to promote healthy eyes, alleviate colds and arthritis, reduce fluid retention and improve circulation.


Abalone Fried Rice

abalone fried rice


2 x abalone, prepared and thinly sliced
2 x eggs, beaten
3 x shallots, finely sliced
2 x garlic cloves, minced
1/2 x red capsicum, sliced into fine, long strips
2 x bacon rashers, sliced into fine batons
6 x snow peas, topped, tailed and sliced
6 x pea sprouts (the green non flowering tendril)
1 cup long grain rice cooked to instructions
2 Tbls olive oil, cold pressed
2 Tbls catsup manis
1 Tbls mirin

Prepare your omelette: in a non stick pan with a small portion of the olive oil gently cook your beaten eggs until slightly golden brown underneath, but barely set on top, fold in half and set aside to set and cool.
Slice the omelette once cooled.

Prepare your rice in advance and allow to cool uncovered to reduce moisture content. Prepare all other ingredients before you start.

Heat your oil in your wok and begin the stir fry with your garlic then add bacon to render a little of the fat. Add the abalone and fry briefly then add the capsicum, shallot and snow peas.
Add your rice and stir fry coating the rice in the oils and fats and flavours.
Add the catsup manis and mirin and the pea sprouts.
Just before you serve stir through the omlette and allow it to reheat.

Garlic Butter Abalone

garlic butter abalone



3 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
4 abalone, trimmed and finely sliced


In a heavy based pan melt your butter with the olive oil and saute the garlic until translucent and the butter well flavoured. Toss in the abalone slices and sizzle until it curls and is slightly caramelised.
Serve with the garlic butter over rice and a garden salad.

BBQ Abalone

BBQ abalone


4 abalone, trimmed whole
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 rosemary sprig long enough for basting


Using a very sharp knife slice the abalone not quite all the way through so that the shell side of the foot muscle is intact. Mix the olive oil and garlic and marinate the abalone for at least 1/2 hour.

BBQ on a hot grill using the rosemary to continually baste the meat as it cooks and takes on the smoky flavours.

Serve immediately with your choice of BBQ sides.

BBQ abalone sliced and served with quinoa

No comments:

Post a Comment