Abalone is a kind of snail with a unique covering. It is not the most popular food in America, and most people don’t even know how to pronounce it.
You won’t see everyday restaurant chefs running around to make exquisite dishes with it, but this edible mollusk is one of the best things you can eat. It is pronounced ab-ah-LOW-nee, for people that don’t know how to pronounce it.
Even though you probably haven’t heard of it, abalone has been a regular in many cuisines for centuries. People that have experienced what it tastes like are always looking to have that experience again. What exactly is this rarely seen seafood, and what does it taste like.
What does abalone taste like? Abalone can be compared to an oyster in terms of its appearance, but it tastes nothing like them. This mollusk naturally tastes salty and buttery, thanks to the seawater it comes from. It has a unique flavor that depends on how it is prepared, what kind of abalone you have, and its size.
The texture can be compared to that of squids or scallops.
Abalone is exquisite and expensive; it is so rare that it isn’t usually added to everyday recipes or dishes. It is highly sought after by chefs who know its worth and is viewed as the most valuable shellfish in the world.
Nutritional Benefits of Abalone
Abalone is an excellent source of vitamins. You can get vitamin A, B6, B12, B1, B2, B3, C, E, and K. It is also a source of many essential nutrients that the body needs to function optimally.
Because it is seafood, abalone has a rich store of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are a kind of polyunsaturated fat with some fantastic properties. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer occurring and may be able to help with arthritis.
For people who already have one heart disease or the other, eating foods like abalone that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve heart health.
Abalone can also enhance one’s well-being because it is a food that supports the liver, boosting its detoxifying power. It helps the spine too. The liver and spine are vital organs in the body. The liver is very important to digestion and metabolism; it should always be in a healthy condition at all times. Eating abalone can help you keep it healthy.
Due to the presence of vitamin A in abalone, it helps to promote eye health. It also contains iodine, a nutrient that’s important to the brain.
Iodine helps the thyroid glands to produce hormones, it is vital for the central nervous system, helps to maintain energy levels, and helps with regulating body development. The iodine in abalone is also good for pregnant women.
The calcium in this sea snail helps to strengthen and maintain the bones. Eating abalone helps improve blood circulation in the body. Abalone contains phosphorus, which helps keep the balance between cell repair and blood circulation in the body. If you have a fever and want to get rid of it, this rare seafood contains nutrients that can help you take care of it.
Culinary Uses of Abalone
Abalone isn’t an everyday staple or food you can easily get your hands on. But Chinese restaurants use it a lot in their dishes. If you walk into some of the best restaurants in the country, you might find it on their menu.
Of what use can abalone be to you in your kitchen? How can you integrate it into your personal cooking?
You can go about cooking abalone in so many ways. You can get it in either fresh or dried form, so there are many ways to go about it. You can cook it in a hot pot, steam it, grill it, fry it.
Abalone can also be eaten raw, and used in sushi or sashimi. The public opinion about abalone is that pan-frying is the best way to enjoy it. Without much seasoning or additives, you can enjoy and experience the taste of abalone when it is pan-fried.
Abalone can be quite tough and chewy, so always remember to tenderize it before cooking.
What is the Origin of Abalone? Where to Procure it?
Abalone can be found in coastal sea waters. It is a hand-sized sea snail with a unique kind of shell. It has just one shell covering its top, and it uses its large foot to stick itself to rocks and eat algae.
The abalone’s shell is spiral-shaped and flat. It has a pearl-like color with small holes around the edges.
Abalone grows in the wild, but it can also be farmed. Farmed abalone has a softer taste than those allowed to grow in the wild. It is a rare seafood; a single big Island abalone can cost as much as $20 to $50.
Due to overfishing, abalone is always in short supply. In New Zealand, there are regulations in place to ensure that fishermen can only fish ten abalones every day. Before they can fish, they must not use any underwater equipment and must have a license. All of this is done in a bid to repopulate the sea snails so they don’t go extinct.
Prying away abalone from the rock it clings to for protection is tricky business. You can’t go fishing for it by yourself. You can buy it fresh from fishermen in coastal areas or buy dried abalone.
Is Abalone Expensive?
There are about 56 species of abalone in coastal waters, but thanks to a growing appreciation for the sea snail and soaring demand, abalone is the world’s most expensive seafood. In some circles, this sea snail is regarded as white gold.
Depending on its size and variety, one snail can be sold for as much as $150. Yes, abalone is quite expensive.
Facts You Don’t Know About Abalone
- About 1.8 billion people don’t have enough iodine in their diets. Abalone is a great way to take care of that deficiency if you can afford to buy it.
- Abalone suffers from overfishing because it is expensive. People are trying to exploit it, with the prices tripling in black markets. Regulations are in place to make sure that abalone is legally sourced.