Monday, November 25, 2019

Abalone: taste and texture

The abalone, considered as an exotic seafood, is known as one of the most expensive marine food products. Abalone is both a delicacy in Chinese culinary culture and a natural resource in the Western Australian (WA) environment.

Abalone shells are rounded or oval with a large dome towards one end. The shell has a row of respiratory pores. The muscular foot has strong suction power permitting the abalone to clamp tightly to rocky surfaces. An epipodium, a sensory structure and extension of the foot that bears tentacles, circles the foot and projects beyond the shell edge in the living abalone.

Abalone meat is plain tasting; thus, in Chinese dishes, the delicious taste of abalone dishes is due to the flavors blended by chefs. In every Chinese restaurant, abalone sauce, usually made with chicken, duck, dried sea scallops, and ham, is a personal secret recipe.

Extractive components such as glutamate, glycine, AMP, and glycine betaine are the taste-active components of abalone. Betaine, glycine and alanine impart sweetness and intensify umami as well. It was also reported the contribution of glycine, glutamate and AMP to the taste of small abalone.

The texture of abalone meat is related to the distribution of protein within the foot, and there is a good correlation between the collagen content and the toughness of abalone. These physicochemical factors, which largely define quality, may be influenced by species, season, diet, physiological condition and genetic factors.

Abalone meat has a firm and crisp texture but exhibits a soft chewy texture after being canned or cooked for a long time – textural properties of abalone meat that are preferred in the market.
Abalone: taste and texture
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