Total time: About 1 hour, 45 minutes
Note: Adapted from Jason Tuley of Square One. Live abalone is available at Korean markets, select Japanese markets and 99 Ranch stores. To get to the heart of the artichoke, peel off the outer leaves and spoon out the center "choke." Use a vegetable peeler and/or paring knife to trim and remove the woody, outer skin of the artichoke, but keep as much of the stem as possible. Reserve leftover artichoke foam for another use.
Artichoke foam and barigoule
1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 -inch dice
2 shallots, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
2 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
1 small leek, white portion only, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
1 lemon, halved
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, 2 parsley stems, 2 sprigs thyme)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
3 large artichokes, hearts only
2 small cloves garlic
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 sheet gelatin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white, whipped to stiff peaks
1. Place the diced carrot, shallots, celery, leek, lemon, bouquet garni and one-fourth cup olive oil in a heavy-bottom stock pot. Sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes until fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the white wine, chicken stock and 1 1/2 cups water. Add the artichoke hearts and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the mixture, reserving the liquid. Set aside the vegetables (discard the lemon and bouquet garni) and liquid separately.
2. To make the barigoule, place the liquid in a large saucepan over medium heat and reduce by half. Dice two of the artichokes into one-fourth-inch pieces. Add artichokes and other vegetables to the reduced liquid. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. To make the artichoke foam, place the garlic with the remaining olive oil in a small sauté pan over low heat. Slowly cook until tender, careful not to let it burn, 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Place the reserved artichoke, the cream, garlic and one-fourth teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, soften the gelatin sheet in a small bowl of cool water.
5. Remove the cream-artichoke mixture from the heat and purée in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Whisk the softened gelatin into the mixture until it is dissolved, and then gently fold in the whipped egg white. Place in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 to 3 hours until fairly stiff.
Abalone and assembly
8 whole red abalone
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs, lightly ground in a food processor
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon clarified butter
Artichoke foam, chilled
1. Sprinkle the abalone meat with the salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Using a large spoon and starting at the shallow end of the abalone, gently pry the meat from the shell. Clean the abalone: Using a kitchen towel, rub the salt into the abalone and scrape off the black sediment, then rinse with cold water. Using a sharp fillet knife, trim the hard "lip" at the edge of the abalone and carefully remove the "foot" (the tough portion that connects the abalone to its shell). Using the same knife, with a gentle sawing motion, carefully slice each abalone in half horizontally. Using the studded side of a tenderizing mallet, pound each slice on both sides until the flesh relaxes and is softened -- 1 to 2 good blows per side. Be careful not to over-pound and destroy the flesh.
2. Place the flour, eggs and bread crumbs into separate medium bowls. Bread each pounded abalone by first dredging it in flour, then egg, then the bread crumbs. Place the abalone on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
3. Place the saucepan with the artichoke barigoule over medium-low heat to warm. Stir in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat but keep in a warm place.
4. Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the clarified butter, swirling it to evenly coat the bottom of the pan, and heat until it is shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium and quickly add the breaded abalone, four fillets at a time. Fry the pieces until golden-brown and crisp on both sides, barely 20 seconds per side. Remove to a paper towel and season each piece with a light sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Repeat until all of the abalone is fried.
5. To plate, place a spoonful of artichoke foam in the center of each of four plates. Place four pieces of abalone around the foam and spoon the barigoule around the abalone. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 554 calories; 37 grams protein; 49 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 20 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 277 mg. cholesterol; 1,282 mg. sodium.