How much do you know about abalone? Have you tried it recently?
I recently went to Carmel for the day and stopped for lunch at Basil Seasonal Dining, noted as the area’s first certified green restaurant. As I looked through the menu, I noticed Abalone in Vermouth Butter Sauce with Spring Vegetable Hash as an appetizer/small plate. I hadn’t had abalone in years, so I knew right away I had to try it.
Basil’s Abalone in Vermouth Butter Sauce
As abalone recipes go, this one was definitely a winner! The presentation was memorable; it was served inside its shell. When I told the server how impressed I was with the dish and wanted to try making it at home, she said I was in luck! Their Executive Chef just happened to share this specific recipe in the spring issue of a local magazine, 65 degrees (see page 40).
In addition to learning where I could find the recipe, I was also told where I could purchase locally-farmed abalone on Fisherman’s Wharf. I was quite motivated to check out the fresh seafood available as I have out-of-town clients who will be staying in Pebble Beach who would love to try one of my newest abalone recipes for an upcoming dinner party. Basil’s staff directed me to Monterey Abalone Company, and within the hour I drove over to the docks and found just what I needed, offered at $26 a pound.
“Research & Development” of Abalone Recipes
Since making this appetizer for 8 people will cost more than $200, I have found that it’s best to perfect my technique beforehand and make sure I like the results. This is what I call “research and development.” On this particular day, I just bought one abalone to sample and try at home.
Not sure how to clean and prepare abalone? Monterey Abalone Company has a helpful guide, which includes a video and a written 8-step process. I also found a second recipe for abalone in the San Francisco Chronicle online; this one uses a classic technique.
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.