Preparation of Abalone for
here to watch a video of San Francisco
Chronicle food writer Olivia Wu shucking abalone and preparing them to
eat. (runs 9:06)
1. Live abalone should be well chilled prior to processing. Chilling
will reduce the amount of “bleeding”, and improve the yield. If the
abalone are to be processed soon after they are received, they can be
placed in a freezer for 20-30 minutes.
2. Remove the abalone from its shell. Remove stomach, gills, and head.
Immediately place the foot in a refrigerator or freezer ( for a short
time, don’t let the foot freeze). The abalone can be placed flat, not
piled up, in a Tupperware container with a lid. If there isn’t time,
then the abalone can be placed in a freezer for 20-30 minutes before
3. To slice the abalone, begin by slicing off the bottom most part (the
“sole”) of the foot. Set the slicer (on number 2) for a thin slice, and
orient the foot so that the head side of the abalone gets cut first.
Slowly push the foot into the slicer until the thin slice appears, and
can be grabbed in your fingers. Pull on the slice, and at the same time,
push the foot into the slicer. Pulling on the slice is important, and
will ensure that the slice is of a uniform thickness. The sole can be
sautéed (with or without pounding), or it can be used in soups or
4. Now set the slicer for a thicker slice, and slice the rest of the
foot using exactly the same technique described in the paragraph above.
Take your time, and be sure to grab each slice as soon as it starts to
appear below the blade. Push the foot, and pull the slice evenly so that
the result is a uniform slice of abalone.
5. Part of the top slice of the foot may have a shiny surface. This is
due to a membrane that has a different texture than the meat underneath
it. The difference in textures can cause that slice to curl up when it
is pounded, so you can cut across the shiny part with a pair of
scissors, and pound that part a little more than the rest. Also, the
round “knob” on top of the foot (called the shell muscle) should be
sliced along with the rest of the foot, and is of excellent quality.
6. During the slicing process, most of the black, frilly, fringe will
separate from the slices. These too can be saved for use in other
recipes. If there are pieces of the fringe remaining attached to the
slices, they can be removed with a pair of scissors, or a sharp knife.
7. Tenderizing, or pounding the slices is an important part of the
process. It is recommended that a piece of plastic wrap be placed over
the slice in order to help protect it from being cut. Blows of the
tenderizing hammer should be done lightly, and the hammer should be
“released” as soon as contact is made so that the hammer is not driven
through the slice.
8. At this point, the process is complete, and the slices can be
segregated into serving portions.