Cooking with Abalone

Wild Abalone in the US and around the world has faced many challenges due to over-harvesting, disease and loss of habitat, and today its harvest in the US is strictly regulated.  To meet the demand for fresh abalone in the wake of the restrictions placed on wild sources, abalone farms across the world have sprung up to produce aquacultured  and sustainable products. Popular in Asian cuisine and considered by many to be a delicacy, the ability to get quality, live abalone such as the Jade Tiger from Australia has brought abalone “back” into popular cuisine – and can be found not only in Asian restaurants, but  in fine dining establishments such as Restaurant DANIEL in New York City.

Restaurant DANIEL’s Abalone with Cauliflower, Vodka Beurre Blanch, and Golden Osetra Caviar

Serves 8


16 Jade Tiger abalone, in their shell

1/2 cup kosher salt

1 quart chicken stock

1/4 quart cream

3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

Rinse the abalone, and with a stiff brush, scrub the shells to remove the black ink around the flesh. Using a spoon, remove abalone from their shells. Place in a non-reactive container with the salt, toss to coat, and cover. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the shells. Boil for 1/2 hour, strain, wipe clean and reserve.

Combine chicken stock, cream, and Dijon mustard in a large saucepot and bring to a light simmer. Rinse abalone, pat dry and add to the sauce. Cover, and cook at a low simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the heat and cool the abalone in the liquid. Strain; and slice the abalone into diagonal pieces 1 mm thick, arrange back into their original shape. Reserve, chilled.

Abalone with Cauliflower, Vodka Beurre Blanch, Golden Osetra Caviar
Abalone with Cauliflower, Vodka Beurre Blanch, Golden Osetra Caviar

Cauliflower Puree and Concassée

2 heads cauliflower

2 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock

1 sachet (1/4 piece bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme and 1 tsp black peppercorns wrapped in cheesecloth and secured with butcher’s twine)

2 Tablespoons crème fraîche

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Tabasco sauce, to taste

Salt and ground white pepper

Trim and reserve 32 small-sized florets and 3 large florets from the head of cauliflower. Roughly chop the remaining cauliflower and combine with the milk, chicken stock and sachet in a saucepot. Season with a pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain cauliflower and transfer 3/4 to a blender with the crème fraîche and lemon juice. Puree until smooth and season with Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 of cooked cauliflower into a concassée; and season with salt and pepper. Reserve puree and concassée warm.

Glazed Cauliflower and Romanesco Florets

1 head romanesco

16 small cauliflower florets, reserved from Cauliflower Puree and Concassée

3 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chicken stock

salt and freshly ground white pepper

Trim romanesco into small florets, reserve 16 for pickles, and discard the core. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Boil the romanesco florets and cauliflower florets in separate batches until tender, and chill in the ice water.

When ready to serve, bring butter and chicken stock to a simmer, reduce to a glaze, add florets and toss to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cauliflower and Romanesco Pickles

16 small cauliflower florets, reserved from Cauliflower Puree and Concassée

16 small romanesco florets, reserved from Glazed Cauliflower and Romanesco

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

10 white peppercorns

2 Tablespoons sugar

Place cauliflower and romanesco florets in a heat-proof container. Combine vinegar, salt, white peppercorn and sugar in a small saucepot and bring to a simmer. Cover, and rest for 10 minutes. Pour over the florets and chill in the liquid.

Cauliflower Tempura

3 large florets cauliflower, reserved from Cauliflower Puree and Concassée

2/3 cup rice flour

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup soda water

vegetable oil, for frying


Fill a heavy-bottomed saucepot 1/3 with vegetable oil and heat to 350°F. Using a mandoline, slice the florets into (at least 16) 1/8-inch thick slices. In a medium bowl, combine the rice flour, cornstarch, and baking soda and make a well in the center. Pour in the soda water and combine by whisking from the center outwards, slowly incorporating the flour to make a smooth tempura batter. When ready to serve, dip cauliflower slices into the batter to coat; and fry in batches until crisp and golden. Strain onto a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

Vodka Beurre Blanc

1 shallot, finely minced

1/4 cup vodka

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 cup chilled butter, diced


In a small saucepan, combine the shallots and ¾ of the vodka. Simmer until almost dry, and stir in the cream. Over low heat, whisk in the butter piece by piece (the mixture will thicken), being sure not to bring to a boil to avoid separation. Add remaining vodka and salt to taste. Reserve warm.


32 pieces baby mixed lettuce

3 Tablespoons crushed black pepper

1/4 cup chopped chives

½ cup finely chopped hard-boiled eggs

80 grams golden osetra caviar

Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack on the top shelf. Place abalone shells face up on a baking sheet and divide the warm cauliflower concassée into the bottoms. Top each with a piece of abalone, slightly fanning the slices. Cover with foil and bake for 5 minutes, or until the abalone is heated through.

Remove and set oven temperature to broil. Spoon the vodka beurre blanc onto the top of the abalone, about 1 Tablespoon per shell. Broil until the sauce is shiny, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with crushed black pepper, chives, and hard boiled eggs. Top each abalone with a 4-gram spoonful of caviar.

For each serving, spoon a line of cauliflower puree in the center of a warm plate. Arrange 2 each glazed romanesco and cauliflower florets around the puree. Place 2 cauliflower tempura pieces on top and garnish with 3 pieces of baby lettuce. Place two abalone on opposite sides, and serve hot.

Submitted By:

Eddy LeRoux, Chef de Cuisine, Restaurant DANIEL

Thanks To:

Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner, Restaurant DANIEL
Jean Francois Bruel, Executive Chef, Restaurant DANIEL
AJ Schaller, DANIEL/Dinex Group