Tonight we had some New Zealand Abalone from OceaNZ Blue. It is a farmed abalone and the product is of good quality. It's no Monterrey Bay abalone, but the next best thing. It is a farmed product and their operation is impressive. We had a rep bring it to us about 6 months ago and we have been using it here and there ever since.
I love the the abalone shell, a work of art in its own right.
These New Zealand abalone have a trademark blue tint to the shell.
As for the preparation, we clean and trim them. Slice nice and thin, then give them a very fine score on both sides. I compressed them with a little olive brine and evoo for about an hour. It seasoned them throughout. A little flour, and a brown butter sear and they are done.
In the shell is some of our spring vegetables that we have been running and a little parsnip puree. The sweetness of the parsnip went well with the brined abalone.
Now the question arises. Is this a sustainable product? In terms of not depleting the wild abalone population I would say yes. In terms of carbon footprint, maybe not. I would say the actual production of the product seems sustainable but we are getting it from New Zealand. So some may make the argument that yeah you're not depleting wild stocks but you are depleting other natural resources from packaging, to shipping, and a whole laundry list of other things I probably haven't thought of.
I've seen this argument come up with the new influx of Australian farmed hiramasa in the states. A farmed yellowtail, but ferocious eaters. It takes a lot more feed to get them fattened up and that feed usually is containing fish oils and meal. Where do you get fish oils and meal from, more fish. So where is the sustainable line drawn? There has to be a balance. When you go out of local, biodynamic, delivered by bicycle, harvested by hand, watered with recycle rain collections, solar powered ovens to cook everything, can we be fully sustainable? I believe some people are at least attempting to fix some of the problems we have made for ourselves within our environment, right now that is better than nothing.
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