Abalone/Calamari

Thanks to @shrinkrap I found a place for abalone/calamari steaks. When I lived in So. Cal., abalone was one of my all time favs. Sadly, it is hard to find these days and is incredibly expensive, and I don’t dive anymore (not to mention I am several hours from the coast now).

My favorite way to cook it was in a super light batter (which IIRC was just eggs and flour, or maybe just flour), sautéed in butter, sometimes with toasted almonds (almondine).

When I moved away from the coast, I figured I’d rarely (if ever) have this again. But a local restaurant opened up offering a Calamari steak with this exact kind of batter, in a white wine, butter, lemon sauce with shallots and garlic. It was so amazing I hit this place up at least once a week for either lunch or dinner. Unfortunately, they are gone now. But this is the dish I’d like to recreate.

I’ve looked up abalone almandine online and every link (which appears to be the same recipe) calls for milk, flour, and corn meal. So maybe what I remember was done with milk and flour, but corn meal is pretty unmistakeable and can’t imagine that was used in either of these dishes.

So do any of you have experience with the kind of batter I am awkwardly referring to?

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try rice flour vs wheat.

I do a tempura with rice flour that’s super.

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Rice flour-eggs, or milk, both, or just rice flour?

Also… what is rice flour? Do I need to buy it? Or can I just put rice in the Vitamix and make flour from it? What should the texture be like?

I was going to say . . .Southern California, abalone, super light batter . . . I was going to guess some type of tempura batter.

there are lots of variations, water, seltzer, regular flour, rice flour … . . but I’d guess the batter is in that vein.

Rice flour is usually purchased, but it is just ground up rice . . . . I’m not sure even the Vitamix will get it as fine as a commercial product . . . if you try it, I might try it on something else before going for the abalone (shrimp, vegetables, mushrooms - whatever).

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Thanks! I make chickpea and almond flour in the Vitamix. I even process tamale masa to tortilla masa. I always get something at least as fine as AP flour. So if rice is the only ingredient, it should come out fine.

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I grew up not far from the central California coast in an era where abalone was plentiful. Egg wash and a dip in seasoned flour is what I remember. One of my all time favorites.

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Thanks… me too.

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Central Coaster, here. Egg wash and dip in finely crushed soda cracker crumbs; pan fry in butter.
It strikes me that there is confusion here over frying calamari rings and the flattened steaks, or faux abalone. Rings are indeed battered, but steaks are simply egged/rumbed, and served only with lemon.

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rice flour is very fine - silky. I find it in the ethnic aisle amongst the Hispanic type ingredients - go figger . . .

here’s my take:

1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cornstarch - 32g
3/4 cup rice flour (or all-purpose flour) - 100g
!!do not use AP flour; been there, done that, didn’t work!!
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sparkling water (ice cold)

Note! stir mix regularly before dipping - the rice flour settles

It looks like @BeefeaterRocks nailed it most closely.


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My rice flour is Bob’s Red Mill.

We have savored this egg wash/cracker crumb/butter treatment of razor clams in Oregon.

Yeah… I think you’re right. I spent the morning scouring the net for photos of abalone almondine to see if they looked like I remember. Some were close, many were not.

The consensus I came away with was egg and flour (or bread crumbs), just flour (tossing the steaks in a paper bag with seasoned flour), just egg, and flour and then egg. I also found numerous recipes with the eggs and crushed saltines.

I then looked through all my books, and found it in a 1979 cookbook for divers (Bottom’s Up Cookery) which uses only flour.

Gotta say the abalone I saw in most of these recipes looked pathetic compared to the large greens and occasional reds that we caught in the waters off Catalina and Palos Verdes, or the steaks we could order at the Malibu Sea Lion or Millie’s Seafood Grotto in Redondo Beach, let alone the Avalon pier back in the 70’s-80’s. Luckily, the Calamari steaks I will order from Giovanni’s are much larger.

I think I am gonna grab some sole fillets from the Safeway and experiment with the eggs/flour and the flour/eggs, along with getting the sauce just right. Then I will apply the best results to the calamari steaks. Stay tuned as I will definitely post the end results (with photos) to this thread.

Thanks everybody!

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considering the stuff I’ve cooked that did not remotely resemble the pictures . . .
should be an interesting journey!

That’s the way we had abalone . With the soda cracker breading. My father would go pick them back in the day . I still have his big wooden abalone mallet for pounding them . Watching him pound out steaks on the back steps . Then feasting on piles of abalone . The best .

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rumbed?

Did you mean rubbed?

Not Pilgrim, but think she meant crumbed.

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Tangential to this topic, I recall many years ago, when sizable wild abalone first became rare, the technique of slicing chicken breast into large but thin cutlets, smashing them between saran into even thinner steaks, marinating overnight in clam juice, then proceeding with egg, crumbs, sauteing in butter. Not abalone but an interesting plate.

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If you’ve not tried a calamari steak I think you’ll be thrilled at how close they come to a large abalone steak at a fraction of the price…

Dunno where these come from, but this looks like the best online purveyor I have come across (with all others being a bit questionable).

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo