Seafoods 4: Abalone (鰒魚)

海鮮單::鰒魚
鰒魚炒薄片甚佳。楊中丞家削片入雞湯豆腐中,號稱鰒魚豆腐,上加陳糟油澆之。莊太守用大塊鰒魚煨整鴨,亦別有風趣。但其性堅,終不能齒決,火煨三日,才拆得碎。

Abalone is good but I find Pleurotus eryngii priced better and a pretty decent substitute. (Credit: Michaela den)

List of Seafoods::Abalone
Abalone [1] is best when sliced thinly and then stir-fried. The house-hold of Yang Zhongcheng serves a dish they call “abalone tofu”, where shaved abalone is simmered in a soup of chicken broth, tofu, and seasoned with aged zaoyu.[2] Prefect Zhuang serves a very unique dish consisting of large chunks of abalone braised with duck. However, abalone is quite firm and tough and must be braised for three days before it is tender enough to eat.[3]

Random notes:
[1]: The Chinese term that Yuan Mei used here for abalone is either regional or simply more archaic. Nowadays it is more commonly called “baoyu” (鮑魚).

[2]: Zaoyu (糟油) now day know more commonly as zaolu (糟卤) is a condiment made by aging a mixture of wine lees,shaoxing/yellow wine, sugar, salt, and osmanthus flowers. Check out the following links for how to make your own: http://baike.baidu.com/view/1206296.htm , http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/58943702.html , http://www.oklink.net/online/tougao/153240/325247.htm .

[3]: I think the abalone referred here in this section is likely the dried form since it is much tougher after rehydration and takes a bit cooking to soften. Fresh abalone can be eaten grilled or steam straih out of the shell and while it’s chewy, it’s not tough.

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