Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

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Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby JoePerry » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:14 pm

Finally tasted Abalone last night.

Tastes like a clam only crunchy. Not sure if crunchy is something I need in my clams?

Compared to some other (true) ocean delicacies like Monkfish liver, Maine Lobster, Uni, O-toro, etc. I don’t see what all the fuss is about…
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby Jenise » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:33 pm

Joe, CRUNCHY? No, not abalone, not if it's been prepped properly (needs lots of pounding). Too, modern farm-raised abalone (if that's what you had) is nothing like the wild stuff some of us are lucky enough to remember from childhood. It really is, or was, nirvana. Sweet and rich enough for a child, which I was when I used to have it, about the texture of a good fried shrimp.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Sat Nov 11, 2006 2:58 pm

I'll chime in to agree with Jenise. What I've had (which has always been brought in by friends who dive for it) has been wonderful stuff. Subtle, sweet, and rich.

Mike

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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby ChefCarey » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:32 pm

JoePerry wrote:Finally tasted Abalone last night.

Tastes like a clam only crunchy. Not sure if crunchy is something I need in my clams?

Compared to some other (true) ocean delicacies like Monkfish liver, Maine Lobster, Uni, O-toro, etc. I don’t see what all the fuss is about…


I wish there were more out there like you. If fewer folks saw the fuss, there would be some around today for those of us who considered this comestible ambrosia.

When I first began cooking wild abalone at Scott's lo those many years ago, it was less than $20.00 per pound. Today, even at prices approaching $100.00 per pound for farmed abalone, more of the aquaculturing ventures fail than succeed. Your abalone was likely Chinese farmed.
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:41 pm

Joe, if you go to a top drawer Chinese Restaurant you should be able to get some prepared properly. Have not had it in Boston, but have in the Apple. You might call around to check.
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby JoePerry » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:57 pm

Controversy! I wasn’t looking to troll, sorry if it came across that way, just sharing my experience. :D

I had this at Oga in Natick, one of the top Japanese restaurants in Ma, I can't say if it was farm raised, but I will say that they don't use much 2nd tier ingredients.

We had is Sashimi style, and while I kidded a bit about the crunchiness (more like a skinless pickle?), it didn't show me enough to want to try again. We had lots of amazing things from the menu, and despite being the most expensive, if I didn't know it was Abalone, I probably wouldn't have guessed it to be anything exciting. I feel the same way about Beluga. Give me Tobiko over Beluga.

I'm not against rare delicacies, but I do ask myself questions like "if peanuts were equally rare, which would I spend $100 a pound on?"...


Best,
Joe
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby Thomas » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:39 pm

Interesting, Joe.

The first time I had abalone was in 1975, in San Francisco. Loved it. Had it a few times after that, also in SF, but by about 1980 I noticed that the abalone got a hell of a lot "crunchier" than I liked it. I stopped eating it.

Thanks to Jenise, now I know what happened.
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby JoePerry » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:51 pm

Thomas wrote:Interesting, Joe.

The first time I had abalone was in 1975, in San Francisco. Loved it. Had it a few times after that, also in SF, but by about 1980 I noticed that the abalone got a hell of a lot "crunchier" than I liked it. I stopped eating it.

Thanks to Jenise, now I know what happened.


No shortage of great foodie knowledge in these parts. If anything, there might be even more critical food expertise than wine on this forum. :shock:

That's not a knock on the wine geeks, rather a compliment to the foodies like Jenise, Stuart, Mike, Chef Carey, you, etc. who have insights into everything.
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Re: Don’t believe the hype (Abalone)

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:12 pm

Joe, I thought of something else to add: Bob and I ordered a fresh abalone dish (at like $100) at a fine Chinese seafood restaurant in Melbourne once upon a time. And I was reminded of that not long ago when served abalone in Vancouver--they tasted like seafood, allright, but they were almost more textural (crunch!) in that they had very little native flavor. Certainly they were nothing like the sweet pink-fleshed salad-plate sized wild California abalone I grew up on and that Chef, Thomas and Mike remember too. Which is nothing like the black fleshed abalone, called Powa (may not be correct spelling, but that's how it's pronounced) New Zealanders love.

Anyway, thinking about all those, it's real easy to understand why you were disappointed. There's abalone, and then there's abalone.
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