Fried abalone

I have a friend who “buys a pig” every year and usually some of the rest of us get in on that, because, well, a pig is a very large animal and none of us really needs that much pork, but a quarter or a fifth of a pig does us very well indeed. So I got some pig for my household, including chops, ribs, bacon, sausage, ham, and…. abalone.

Abalone?? That’s what I said. Apparently our friend who went to pick up the meat didn’t bring enough cash with him so he found a friend of his who lived nearby who happened to have cash, a desire for pork, and, wouldn’t you know it – abalone. So our friend gave his friend some pig in exchange for cash and abalone, and that’s how we all got an abalone with our pig. As an aside, California strictly regulates abalone fishing, and one person can not be in possession of more than three abalone at any given time. So how five of us got abalone that day is a mystery – perhaps some variant of the river crossing puzzle?

At any rate, I had never cooked abalone in my life, so it seemed like a fun, exotic thing to try and prepare. Turns out it is actually very easy – we basically sliced, breaded, and deep fried it like fried calamari and ate it with cocktail sauce. Not very fancy, but it was quite good.

I followed a pretty basic recipe from allrecipes.com. It is definitely the biggest mollusk I’ve ever prepared, and rather funny looking (but that’s par for the course for mollusks).

After slicing it, I pounded it with an empty sake bottle – for lack of a meat tenderizer – until it was uniformly mushy (I read that this step is very important). Then, just dip each piece into a beaten egg/milk mixture, coat with seasoned bread crumbs, and place into a deep skillet containing about a cup of thoroughly heated oil. Fry on each side for about 2-4 minutes and you’re done!

If you like calamari or fried clams, you’ll probably like fried abalone. But I’m not sure where you get it if you don’t have a friend of a friend who happens to fish for abalone…

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