What is Abalone (Haliotis spp.)?

Abalone Abalone

Common names for Abalone

Red abalone, black abalone, white abalone, pink abalone, green abalone, Australian abalone, giant abalone, blackfoot abalone, pinto abalone, blacklip abalone, greenlip abalone, Japanese abalone

Other languages for Abalone

  • French name: Ormeau
  • Italian name: Orecchia marina
  • German name: Seeohr

Introduction to Abalone

Predation, illness, habitat degradation, and overfishing have devastated wild abalone populations on the United States’ West Coast and across the globe. However, farmed supply is helping to close the harvest gap; more than 15 abalone species are commercially grown globally. The red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) is the most popular and common abalone in the North American market, available farmed in California and both wild-harvested and farmed in Mexico. San Miguel Island off the coast of southern California is home to the sole viable population of black abalone (H. cracherodii) in North America. Abalone collected in the wild average 12 inches in length and weigh around a pound in flesh. Abalone farmed in captivity average approximately 4 inches in length. Farmed abalone require three to four years to achieve marketable size of four to six live creatures per pound, whether in onshore saltwater pens or suspended cages.

Product profile for Abalone

The edible flesh is made up mostly of a huge, powerful foot. Abalone is milky-moist, soft, and mild when cooked, similar to lobster but sweeter to the discerning palette. Abalone is a distant relative of calamari in terms of flavor. Abalone that has been cultured may be slightly more delicate than wild-caught abalone. Frozen meat should have a solid texture, similar to that of an ivory-colored hockey puck. It should have almost little odor when thawed. Cooked abalone comes in a variety of white hues. Abalone that is alive and well should be active and firmly attached to the tank. Touch should elicit a response from the foot muscle. If it doesn’t, or if it dents, the animal is on the verge of dying.

Cooking tips for Abalone

With a broad spatula placed between the flesh and the shell, shuck live abalone. Viscera and fringe should be trimmed. Make 3/8-inch slices parallel to the bottom of the foot for steaks and softly pound until tender using a wooden mallet. Don’t over-pound the meat or it will shred. In a small pan, heat the oil to near-flash point, then sauté for less than 1 minute per side. When this delicacy is overcooked, it turns into shoe leather. Trimmings can be used to make chowder stock.

Nutrition facts for Abalone

Calories: 105 Fat Calories: 7.2 Total Fat: 0.8 g Saturated Fat: 0.1 g Cholesterol: 85 mg Sodium: 301 mg Protein: 17 g Omega 3: 0.1 g

Primary product forms for Abalone

Fresh: Live (in-shell), Shucked meats, Steaks Frozen: Shucked meats, Steaks Value-added: Canned, Dried

Global supply for Abalone

Australia, Chile, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan, United States, Iran