This totally delicious, albeit simple, dish of crumbed and fried abalone was shown to me by fellow diver Mic Giuliani, but it didn’t really cut the mustard with the abalone divers during a cook-off on Tassie’s west coast. Curiously enough however, my dish was the first to disappear from the table as people casually dipped chunks of this amazing shellfish in the quality home-made mayo. I’ll let actions speak louder than words.
- 2 fresh abalone, cleaned (see Note)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 200 g dried breadcrumbs
- 100 g plain four
- 500 ml (2 cups) sunflower or other mild flavoured oil, for deep-frying
- lemon wedges, to serve
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ Meyer lemon, juiced and zested
- 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the mayo, place the egg yolk in a mixing bowl and either get a friend to hold it, or place on a wet cloth to stop the bowl from moving while you whisk. You need both hands to make the mayonnaise, and unless you’ve a third hand, something has to hold the bowl. Add the mustard, lemon juice and zest, then, whisking continuously, add the oils, drop by drop at first and then in a slow steady stream until emulsified. Add a tiny splash of hot water to the mayonnaise, season to taste and combine well.
To ensure the abalone is tender. I give one good wallop with a meat mallet or something similar to crack the foot. Cut the abalone into it into thin strips.
Place the eggs, milk and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl and whisk to combine well. Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl. Place the flour in a plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the abalone strips to the flour and shake to coat well. Working one a time, dip the abalone strips in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat well.
Heat the oil in a large wok over high heat until a few breadcrumbs tossed in sizzle straight away. Deep-fry the crumbed abalone pieces, one handful at a time just until golden, using a slotted spoon to turn them over if necessary. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately with the Meyer lemon mayo and an extra squeeze of lemon.
• You really need fresh abalone for this. If you can’t dive for them, then buy them live. If you win the lottery, that is, because they’re certainly not cheap.
This recipe is from Gourmet Farmer Afloat.