David is one of the leading proponents of modern Californian cuisine, with a philosophy deeply rooted in the local terroir. Watch as this compellingly modern two Michelin star chef talks about how the changing seasons constantly inspire him with the changing shapes, textures and flavours of his farm-to-table produce.
Persillade (This can be done one day in advance):
Place two tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and place it over a low heat.
Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally. Make sure they don’t colour. Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook and stir until the onions are completely soft.
Remove the mixture from the pan and allow to cool in a bowl.
Chop the seaweed fairly fine and stir into the cool onion mix along with the capers. Taste and see if it needs a pinch of salt. The salt might not be needed because of the natural salinity of the capers and seaweed.
Finish seasoning with champagne vinegar, the last of the oil and the lemon zest. It should have the consistency of a loose paste.
Abalone (The day before):
Using a large tablespoon, shuck the abalone from its shell by going behind the abalone and forcing out the “foot” from the bottom of the shell. Slice off the innards that are at one end of the abalone so it is clean. You might have to pinch the end to expose the last bit of entrails attached.
Put the abalones on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. This step will relax the abalone and preventn it from splitting when it is pounded.
The Day of Serving:
Lay out a tea towel on a sturdy table or butcher’s block. Remove the abalone from the fridge and make cross cut incisions about ¼ inch apart and ¼ inch deep on the bottom of the foot of the abalone. Place the abalone foot side down on the edge of the tea towel and fold the other edge of the towel over the abalone to completely cover them.
Pound each abalone two to three times gently but firmly with a meat pounder. Do not use a tenderiser or meat cuber side of a pounder. Use only a flat even surface. You should slightly flatten the abalone without disfiguring or splitting it. Return the abalone to its plate and cover with plastic wrap.
Heat the dashi until just below a simmer. Have it at the ready.
When ready to serve toss the abalones in flour and shake off all the excess flour. Do not season with salt in advance as they tend to have a high natural salinity.
Heat all the butter in a good sauté pan over medium high heat. When the butter stops sizzling and begins to foam, add the abalone to the pan, foot side up. Gently shake the pan constantly and allow the butter to slowly turn to a hazelnut brown with a nutty aroma. After about two minutes turn the abalone and finish another minute on the foot side. The abalone and the butter should both be golden brown. Add the lemon juice and shake the pan to coat with the juices.
Place a spoonful of the persillade on top of the finished abalone and spread the mixture to cover the entire surface of the abalone.
Place the abalone in a shallow bowl and pour just enough dashi broth to come up the sides of the abalone without submerging it.