01 of 05
Start With a Whole Cleaned Abalone
Abalone is famously delicious - I think of it as a cross between scallops and foie gras, which sounds not delicious, but it's like a delicious cross between those two - and famously tough. This mollusk is one solid muscle and needs some help relaxing into tenderness. Some people beat it into submission with a bat (seriously, a baseball bat), others stew in up and force it into submission with long and slow cooking. Me? I prefer to slice it thinly and gently pound the slices a bit thinner to... break up the muscle just a bit, yielding rich and flavorful treats.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
Cut the abalone into thin slices. I find about 1/4-inch thick works well.
Note: Some people trim off the tough, outer skin before slicing. I often prefer to slice the abalone first and then cut off any tough skin from each piece - it takes a bit more time but it preserves more of the edible, hard-to-get and/or expensive meat.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
Trim Outer Skin From AbaloneIf you trimmed off the curled edges of the abalone while cleaning it, you can skip this step. If those swirled "lips" are still there, though, cut them off and discard them. They are the tough outer edge of the abalone and won't tenderize the way the rest of the abalone slice will.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
Pound the Abalone Slice Until Tender
Optional: Put an abalone slice between two pieces of plastic wrap.
Why should you do this? Well, I do it because it greatly reduces the mess pounding, or tenderizing, abalone produces. I also find that the plastic wrap helps protect the slice of abalone for tearing or shredding as you pound it.
Feel the abalone slice with your fingers so you know how it feels before being tenderized. Pound the slice until tender. How will you know it's tender? The abalone flesh will feel noticeably softer when... you touch it.
Some people use a meat tenderizer to beat the abalone into submission, but I've found many gentle taps all over the abalone slice with the back of a large spoon tenderizes the flesh without tearing it.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Tenderized Abalone Slice
You now have a tenderized slice of abalone, ready to cook or eat. Repeat with remaining slices.
Did you read that write? "Cook or eat"? Yep. Abalone sushi or crudo is delicious. Serve it fresh, chilled, and with a spritz of lemon, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and a dusting of sea salt or a drip of soy sauce with a tiny dollop of wasabi.
If raw seafood isn't your thing, just give these abalone slices a quick pan fry.