Blacklip Abalone

Haliotis rubra

Other names: Muttonfish.

Family: Haliotidae (abalones).

Description:

A univalve mollusc with a flat, rough, oval shell, reddish brown to reddish green in colour, containing a large muscular foot with a black frill or lip. The most common Abalone species in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania, it’s found from Ceduna (South Australia) to Ballina (NSW). Tasmania has the largest wild harvest Abalone fishery in Australia, which is predominantly Blacklip, while Victoria also farms some Blacklip. It is endemic to Australia.

Season: Wild stock is harvested year round, farmed is harvested mainly in summer.

Size and Weight: Live Abalone is 250g-350g when fully grown, with the shell measuring 13-17cm.

Price: One of Australia’s most highly valued fisheries products, live it often retails for around A$100/kg.

Relations:

There are 18 Abalone species in Australian waters including Greenlip Abalone, Tiger Abalone (a hybrid of Blacklip and Greenlip), Brownlip Abalone and Roe’s Abalone. New Zealand Paua is also an Abalone.

To Buy:

Available in the shell (live or frozen), or as meat (frozen and vacuum-packed, or dried).

To Store:

Abalone can be kept live for up to 3 days if stored in a deep-sided bucket covered with a hessian sack soaked in water and kept in the coolest part of the house. Alternatively, refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.

To Cook:

Average yield is 35%. Use a short-bladed knife to slide around the edge between the flesh and the shell, remove meat and cut off intestine (the small sack attached to the underside). Rinse and dry. Cut off the small piece of gristle at the head end (next to the small antennas), trim off the frill and lip, turn over and cut a thin layer off the surface of the foot where it attached to the rock; trim all surfaces of any dark material. Under cold running water, using a small paring knife, scrape off the brown film remaining on the sides. Slice horizontally and tenderize by placing between two freezer bags and beating lightly with a meat mallet. Abalone’s main feature is its firm texture; it is low in oil and has a medium flavour and moisture. It is best cooked very quickly over a high heat (for just a few seconds) or braised very slowly (for up to 6 hours, depending on size).

Cooking Methods:

Steam, poach, pan-fry, stir-fry, barbecue, braise, raw (sashimi). The cleaned shell can be used as a cooking vessel, especially if steaming, and as a serving vessel.

Goes well with:

The meat absorbs flavours well during cooking and is usually paired with simple flavours such as pan-frying in butter and parsley with a squeeze of lemon, or braising in oyster sauce with garlic and ginger.

Alternatives:

Bailer shell. Their firm texture means Squids, Calamari and Cuttlefish can also sometimes be substituted for Abalone.

Imports:

Dried and canned from New Zealand and Asia.

Recipes:

Pan-Fried Abalone Steaks >
Cocktail Abalone with Asian Dressing >
Stir-Fried Bailer Shell with Garlic Shoots >