A Must have Mollusk: Abalone

August 5, 2015

Chef Aaron Martinez’s latest supplementary item on the Intro menu is a must have- Fresh Abalone with Grilled Abalone Mushrooms bathed in a Roasted Chicken Broth and Smoked Bacon Oil, sprinkled with Scarlet Runner Bean Flowers and Sea Beans served alongside Avocado Puree and Chicken Skin Tuille. The dish has a certain wholeness to it, a wonderful balance between the savory components and the lightness of the broth that surrounds it. As a California native, Chef Martinez’s inspiration for this new dish is home. He brings the Bay to Intro using abalone that is shipped directly from Santa Barbara (which are typically larger in size than other abalones). To those that are unfamiliar with abalone, it is a type of shellfish with a shell that has a highly iridescent inner layer composed of nacre (mother-of-pearl). Texturally it’s right between a scallop and squid with a crunchiness reminiscent to a conch or a jellyfish. The flavor is naturally buttery while it’s succulent taste and velvety texture are simply enticing. Alongside the abalone are abalone mushrooms. Now here’s a mushroom that lives up to its name-it looks, tastes, and smells like abalone. With virtually no stalk, this mushroom’s abalone-shaped caps have a delicate, mild flavor with a velvety texture and crunch that complements the actual abalone in the dish. Chef Aaron The sea beans and scarlet runner bean flowers that are sprinkled over the dish offer beautiful pops of summertime colors. The vibrant greens and orange-reds are edible as well as ornamental. The sea beans’ succulent stems thrive in an estuary area, rich with fish and crustaceans, where few plants are able to survive. The stems are like a column of jointed capsules that snap like beans. In its juicy, salty, fresh state they are terrific. Chef Martinez has chosen the perfect time for sea beans to appear on the menu as world-wide they are harvested from early summer to the end of summer. Abalone

"There is thought in every component. The flavors need to complement one another. You need to do what makes sense."- Chef Aaron Martinez
These ingredients alone are great, but together Chef Martinez has created an incredibly memorable dish. Who knows how long this supplement will last on the menu until a new creation takes it place...but what is clear is that Chef Martinez puts substantial and impressive thought into every component of his dish that every supplementary dish to come is a sure must have this summer at Intro.