Mouthwatering Pan Fried Abalone
Growing up on the coast of Northern California I so fortunate to have access to fresh abalone. It’s considered a culinary delicacy for good reason. When prepared correctly, it is mouth watering, tender and buttery. And when it’s not prepared correctly, it can be like dining on a Michelin tire! The key is to pound it to just the right thickness and to make sure you don’t overcook it. Additionally, prepare it the day it is caught for the best results. The abalone should be shucked from the shell and cleaned. Be sure to ask for the shells as they are very pretty and look nice on your patio table.
A very good friend of mine hooked me up with some fresh abalone during my last visit. A VERY good friend and his gift of two good-sized (and legal of course!) abalone made our trip! This is the best way to get it. You can buy farmed abalone, but it’s expensive, is usually pounded paper fine and lacks flavor.
I used this common preparation to make dinner for my husband … an abalone virgin! I’m sure there are many more sophisticated recipes out there… but sometimes simple is best and you’ll always win with this recipe.
quantities are approximate and should be increased dependent upon amount of abalone
- 1 fresh abalone – cleaned and sliced into small 3/4 inch steaks
- 1 lemon
- 1 loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread
- 3 teaspoons freshly grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/4 cup milk (approx)
- 1 TBSP butter and 2 TBSP olive oil (approx) or 50/50 oil-butter
- ground sea salt
- freshly cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Slice sourdough bread down the middle and then cut in half. Place 1/4 of the bread on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until golden (about 12-15 min). Use remainder of bread to serve with abalone – either garlic bread or just warmed with butter.
Place toasted bread pieces in food processor and blend until the bread is in crumbs. Add parsley and parmesan and blend until well-mixed. Make sure you’ve made enough bread crumbs for the amount of abalone you have and please DON’T use store bought canned crumbs as they have no flavor. If you’re lucky enough to get fresh abalone then take the time to make your own bread crumbs.
Add egg to small bowl and whisk until fluffy. Add milk and stir lightly until blended.
Create an assembly line to bread and fry your abalone quickly.
Place bread crumbs on plate next to egg bowl.
Heat a 10-12″ castiron or stainless steal skillet on medium high burner for about 2 minutes.
While skillet is heating up take one abalone steak and dip it in egg wash, then completely coat with bread crumbs.
Add oil and butter to the preheated pan until oil just starts to shimmer. Lightly shake off excess bread crumbs. Add abalone. Fry until golden brown – approximately 20-50 seconds per side (depending upon thickness). Place cooked abalone steak on plate in oven at low/warm temperature (200 degrees) and repeat with remaining abalone. Keep a close watch and don’t get distracted while doing this or you may over cook the abalone or burn the bread crumbs.
Season lightly with sea salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with your favorite side dishes and very dry white wine like a California or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Take the time to plate your dishes with the sides prior to cooking the abalone so that you may serve it quickly without letting it sit.
mill fresh pine nuts or macadamia nuts instead of bread crumbs