Kate Sumner, of Kangaroo Island Source, is known as the island’s most produce-driven chef. In this recipe, she uses the island’s baby abalone (also known as abalini), pan-fried in butter and Kangaroo Island limoncello. Served with autumn flavours like pumpkin, candied chilli, pickled samphire and shaved confit abalini, it is great as an entrée or a shared platter as the weather starts to cool down. "Kate suggests a nice dry rosé with this dish and who am I to argue? Once again, the foodie versatility of rosé comes to the fore, with this complex and flavour-packed dish. I think what we’re really looking for is something lighter, onion skin to very pale pink in colour, and deliciously dry with savoury nuances. With the Rosé Revolution events fast approaching, it is also the time of year to really start thinking about this style. Victorian winery De Bortoli have done so much to promote the dry styles, so you’d be hard pressed to beat their La Bohème rosé with this dish." - Dan Coward






Skill level

Average: 5 (7 votes)


  • 250 g roast pumpkin 
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 75 g organic butter 
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 8 baby abalone, in shell 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed 
  • 100 ml KI Spirits limoncello 
  • 4 confit of abalini, in shell 

Confit of abalini

  • 1.2 litres grapeseed oil 
  • 1 bulb fennel 
  • 1 lemon, zested 
  • 1 orange, zested 
  • 8 black peppercorns 
  • 4 baby abalone, in shell 

Candied chilli

  • 220 g (1 cup) sugar 
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water 
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods, bruised 
  • 4 long red chillies, sliced

Pickled samphire

  • 1 cup fresh washed samphire 
  • 25 g salt 
  • 300 ml water 
  • 500 ml (2 cups) vinegar 
  • 5 g cloves 
  • 5 g white peppercorns 
  • 5 g black mustard seeds 


  • candied chilli and flowers 
  • baby beetroot leaves 
  • pickled samphire

Cook's notes

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.


Soaking time 24 hours

You will need to begin this recipe 3 weeks in advance.

Drink De Bortoli La Bohème Pinot Noir Rosé 2011, Yarra Valley, Vic

Puree the roast pumpkin and honey together until smooth.

Heat the butter in a hot pan and add the thyme. Add the abalini flesh side down. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the limoncello and cook off the alcohol for another 2 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

To make the confit of abalini, place all the ingredients, except the abalone, in a saucepan and heat to 50°C. Add the abalone and cook for 45 minutes at 60°C.

Remove from the oil and scoop the flesh from the shell. Discard the liver and gut and wipe with a paper towel. (Don’t wash it as it will dilute the flavour.) Dice the abalini and either use immediately while still warm or keep in cooking oil for up to 1 week.

To make the candied chilli, preheat the oven to 90°C. In a medium-sized pan, gently heat the sugar, water and cardamom. Place the chillies into the syrup and poach lightly for 20 minutes.

Drain the chillies. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 1 hour, until crisp. The syrup can be used for other recipes.

To make the pickled samphire, soak the samphire in brine (salt and water mix) for 24 hours. Rinse them well and blanch them in pickling vinegar (vinegar and the remaining spices) for 5-7 minutes. Pour into a sterilised jar and leave for 3 weeks before eating.

To serve, spread a layer of pumpkin puree and place three pieces of pan-fried abalini on the plate. Garnish with baby beetroot leaves, shaved confit of abalini, candied chilli and pickled samphire. Spoon over the limoncello dressing.