Growing up on the California coast, my favorite meals were amazingly simple. The top three that come to mind are steamed clams, king crab legs, and lobster, with nothing more than broth and melted butter… followed by abalone, sole, or trout almandine.
This stuff was always fresh, and I think that was the main reason I enjoyed such a simple prep so much.
Now-a-days, most “great” meals seem way more complicated… and I can’t help but wonder if it is due to poorer quality ingredients, or a modern assumption that their flavors are insufficient on their own.
I don’t see it as necessary to decide between both approaches - I like both in general I always like to explore constantly new recipes (and we hardly ever repeat any) and so it is more likely that we try out new flavor combinations - life is too short to cook always the same way
Growing up in California, I miss Cayucos abalone and Pismo clams. I now live on the So. Oregon coast so I have access to fresh seafood, simply prepared, like Dungeness crabs and salmon. I don’t know why you think it has become complicated, there is nothing better than a plateau de fruits de mer.
Sabella & La Torre in San Francisco used to make a thing called scallone. It was scallops pounded into an abalone steak, floured and pan fried. It was just transformatively good. I do not think they still offer it. That was another San Francisco.
There used to be a place nearby in White Hall called Dante’s on the River that did a Calamari… abalone style steaks in a white wine, lemon butter sauce with garlic and shallots. It was amazing (the best non-abalone abalone I’ve ever had) and I hit it up almost weekly. Unfortunately they were run out of town by tourists visiting Tahoe.
I have tried to locate Kevin (the chef) to find out where he sourced the steaks from and to get the recipe… but no luck. Really miss his restaurant.
I’m not in the camp that there’s equivalence here with calamari steaks and abalone, but i like em both. Damn, those bigger abalone harder and harder to find, you need a friend that catches them and we all know that’s not the safest kind of fishing when you put weights and chains on yourself and play in the surf zone…
A few spots here do some pretty memorable (large) squid dishes tho…Palms Thai on Hollywood Blvd does grilled squid (big hunks) and nice thai sauce…
A bunch of spots in Ktown also do grilled squid. Versailles on La Cienega and also on Venice (sorta Cuban food) has a nice garlic butter drenched calamari steak too that along with their oxtails is one of their better offerings…
I like going out for seafood at Morro Bay. Baked clams, crab. Or fish tacos.
I live within an hour of Lake Erie and Lake Huron. A few times a year, I have fried lake perch or pickerel, or smoked whitefish, in a lakeside beach town. Usually Port Stanley or Port Burwell on Lake Erie, or Grand Bend, Bayfield or Goderich on Lake Huron.
If you ever venture to Ventura, hit up El Jarocho Seafood for incredible (and affordable) seafood coctels that have combos of octopus, shrimp, fish, abalone, etc, etc…comes with avocado, lime juice, that kind of dish…