Also known as:

Awabi (Japan), abulón (Spanish), muttonfish (Australia), ormer shells (English Channel), paua (New Zealand), and sea snails.


Waters: Pacific coasts (California to Chile), Indo-Pacific coasts (Asia, Japan, Africa), English Channel, Mediterranean Sea.

Description (in water): A large, ear-shaped univalve mollusk with iridescent shell protecting body and foothlike adductor muscle with which it moves and cling to rocks. Abalone ranges from 6 inches to 1 foot in length and weighs from 4 to 8 lbs.

Description (in market): Only the adductor muscle is edible. The mild, sweet-flavored white meat must be tenderized to soften the naturally tough, rubbery texture.

Best Cooking:

It is essential to gently tenderize the meat by with a rolling pin or mallet. Abalone can be eaten raw, cubed or cut into strips and prepared as a salad. It is often briefly sautéed in butter (20 to 30 seconds per side), or seasoned and lightly coated with flour and egg and pan-fried. Try to avoid overcooking, which toughens the meat.

Buying Tips:

Abalone is best purchased alive, with an adductor muscle that moves when touched. Choose small specimens that smell sweet rather than fishy. Refrigerate as soon as possible after purchase cook within 24 hours.

Nutrition Value:

Abalone (raw), 3 oz. (84.9g)
Calories: 89
Protein: 14.5g
Carbohydrate: 5.1g
Total Fat: 0.65g
Fiber: 0.0g
Excellent source* of: Selenium (38mcg)
Good source* of: Magnesium (40mg), Vitamin B12 (0.6mcg), and Vitamin E (3.4 IU)

When cooked (fried), abalone provides 0.149 grams of omega-3 fatty acids derived from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)** (0.054g) and ALA*** (0.095g), per each 100 grams of abalone.

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
**EPA - Eicosapentaenoic Acid
***ALA - Alpha Lipoic Acid


California law prohibits canning and out-of-state shipping of fresh or frozen abalone. Preyed upon by sea otters, large Pacific abalone is becoming scarce. The iridescent shell of the abalone is a source of mother-of-pearl. The meat is very popular in Chinese and Japanese cooking. It is often prepared raw as sushi or sashimi.

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