Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Abalone Ash Tray

Outside the front entrance to Anna's Asian House restaurant, guests may stub out their cigarettes in this carefully presented abalone shell.

Sport fishing of abalone is only allowed in California north of San Francisco, and there are strict limits on the number and size anyone can gather. The "bag limit" is only three a day, 24 a season. The edible part is the big foot muscle of this big flat snail, and it has a flavor something like scallops. The meat can be quite tough unless it's pounded thoroughly with a toothy kitchen mallet. My grandfather used to prepare them for us, but it was a rare treat. Because the resource is limited, no commercial sale of abalone is allowed.

Having said all that, there's hardly an old barn or farmhouse in this region that doesn't have a few of these "red" abalone shells around.


Halcyon said...

Are there still Californians who smoke? Those most be the tourists' butts.

Anonymous said...

Do you use herbs for treatment here?
In the meantime, hello. How are you? Good work. Greetings.

USelaine said...

Halcyon - Thanks to the health laws, if they do, they do so outside only. I don't want to think about tourists' butts.

AKH - They only eat food here. I'm very well, thank you!

Miss H - If it's any consolation, other abalone shells get used for nicer things. I have one that I put jewelery in. As for the sign, I debated whether to show the whole thing, or to focus in on the shell. The shell won. And as for searching, well, I'm a bigblog fish in a small pond, I guess. I'll be wrapping up a full year in a few days. Thank you for your kind visits.

In fact, thank you to all my visitors, and especially commenters. But I'll get into that more next week.

Pat said...

You know, I have never eaten abalone. I must make a point to do so this summer.

Yes, I was wondering who in California still smoked!

Anonymous said...

I have an aunt (early 70's) whose was raised in a wealthy family. They owned a yaht and would gather abalone regularly. I guess a whole vocabulary is around these mollusks. I think she said the pink were highly regarded.

USelaine said...

Bibi - The ones near you would be different species than over here on the Pacific. I've never tasted anything else.

PA - The ones here are "red" on the outside, sort of iridescent purple/aqua/pink on the inside.