If you eat abalone as hwae (or sashimi), it tends to be very cartilaginous and crunchy—a texture that not everyone can get on board with. But steaming turns abalone into one of the most tender, juicy pieces of meat you’ll ever eat. Jeonbok sul-jjim is more commonly known in Japan (where it’s called mushi awabi) than in Korea. You’ll have to give it plenty of time, but you can go about your other business while you let it steam. Trust me, your patience will be rewarded with this one.
½ cup white wine
1 cup rice wine
2 cups water
1 lemon or orange wedge
1. Clean abalone and separate the gut for other uses. (See how to shuck an abalone.) Score a crosshatch pattern on the foot with your knife.
2. Place the water, alcohol and lemon wedge into the steamer and bring to a boil.
3. Place the abalone in the steamer basket and steam for about 3 hours on low heat.
4. If you need more liquid for cooking, make of the alcohol-water mixture and add it to the pot.
5. Serve hot as a main course with the rest of your meal.
We served this dish at our spring workshop in March 2016.