warm abalone or sea scallop salad with corn, grilled nectarines, and basil coulis

I had just returned from the market, ingredients in hand and excited to make the assigned French Friday recipe using sea scallops for this week when I received the text, Brett has abalone he wants to give you…Brett is a buddy of my son Taylor and he dives for abalone off the Sonoma/Mendocino coast. We had spoken before about abalone as I had expressed an interest in creating a recipe using his abalone.  The last time we enjoyed fresh abalone was a few years ago when the boys were in high school and Brett’s father graciously shared abalone steaks with us.  In Northern California sport harvesting of red abalone is allowed with a California fishing license and an abalone stamp card. Black, white, pink and flat abalone are endangered and protected by law.  Abalone may not be taken south of the San Francisco Bay and there are size requirements that are strictly monitored as well as the  catch amount.  The largest red abalone taken off the Northern California coast on record was 12.34 inches in Humboldt County in 1993. The average size is around 8 inches in Point Arena, which produces the largest wild harvested abalone.  There is also a farmed supply of abalone in the Monterey Bay which can be shipped live overnight anywhere in the US. I’ve never tried farmed abalone so I can’t compare them to Brett’s catch!  The buttery delicate ocean flavor of the highly coveted wild abalone steaks is enhanced by using a quick cooking method.  After seasoning the steaks they just need a quick pan fry in hot drizzled olive oil, butter or a mixture of the two.  When the abalone steaks hit the hot oil, you will see them slightly puff up and it’s time to flip to the next side.  I kept my cooked abalone steaks, sea scallops and grilled nectarines covered on the stove as I quickly put together my plates.  For dinner, I decided to offer a choice of either sea scallops or abalone  with a generous spoonful of the corn salad and several nectarine slices on each plate.  After a quick drizzle of the lime dressing and basil coulis the plates were ready to serve.  But, then it’s time to take pictures and everyone was ready to eat, oh!- the sacrifices that are made for the blog!  My photos are what I call speed or power photography, still  hope you enjoy and please check out the links to French Fridays with Dorie for all the  variations on warm sea scallops with corn, grilled nectarines and basil coulis this week.


3 kinds of sweet basil from my garden


  1. Woah, what a gorgeous dinner! I’m hoping to catch up with this dish when we get back in town:)

  2. your dinner is very pretty! We did ours late at night and the light was really terrible… so we didnt get as great of photos, but we did like the scallops quite a bit! :)

  3. I may not eat lots of seafood, but I know hubby would love to have this for lunch or dinner.

  4. I like it: speed power photography :) A perfect summer supper – wish I could get my hands on some fresh from the sea abalone – it’s been a long time since I’ve had an abalone steak! I’m jealous of your garden now… the herbs that we planted in pots did not fare to well in the move…

  5. I’m as jealous of that beautiful basil as I am of the meal! I’ve never had abalone before…what an unusual looking food. Thanks so much for sharing your preparation method though. It looks amazing.

  6. What a treasure! I would love to taste fresh-caught abalone. Your salads are gorgeous & you cracked me up with your photography comment! I’m afraid that’s the bane of existence for those who live with food bloggers! What’s really funny is when I see John carefully arranging things on the plate so I can get a good picture. I always enjoy your photos.

  7. Wow Patty! Everything looks fantastic! And fresh abalone? I’m jealous!

  8. I think the pictures are great – but I know what you mean about speed photography. That is why I do not post as many dinner recipes as I would like.
    What a special dinner, looks amazing!

  9. Could you please forward my number to Brett, I’d happily accept one of his texts. I haven’t had the fresh stuff in years, I’m sure it was awesome. You are one lucky lady. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  10. This salad looks so nice for the Summer. I haven’t tried abalone before but I do like sea scallops and the grilled nectarine with the corn and veggies sounds great. Beautiful basil you have there and I wish I would have planted some this year but being gone for a month in the middle of Summer kind of kills stuff :)

  11. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    So beautiful, Patty. I love scallops and hardly ever make them. I really enjoy them in salads and yours is wonderful:)

  12. What a beautiful salad! I love the grilled components and the basil coulis is the perfect finish!

  13. Patty – beautiful! What a great gift.
    I have never had abalone before – it’s not readily available out here on the East Coast; but I am definitely curious to try it some day.

  14. A gourmet salad, Patty! I like the 2nd click…a pure beauty.

  15. such a beautiful dish.. and even more beautifully plated!! never had abalone before though…. but the plate looks top notch!!

  16. Patty – I grew up eating abalone and just love it. My Uncle would go ab diving quite often and we would benefit from it. What a perfect little salad you made and just whipped up. You made me giggle when you mentioned speed photography (since I sure everyone was hungry) – you did a good job! Have a great weekend!!

  17. When can I come over for lunch? Hehehe.

    What kind of basil are those, Patty? They are gorgeous! Last night, I just dreamt I had a big garden full of herbs and vegetables :) Then I woke up from that sweet dream…no garden! LOL!

  18. I have scrolled up and down a few times ere writing. Thank you for one of the most beautiful and evocative food posts I have read this year. I truly doubt there could be a more attractive nor beautifully plated salad I have seen recently [I do hope other bloggers will forgive me for being honest!]. I love abalone, but here, on the east coast od Australia, it is also an endangered species and what is allowed to be taken is nigh to unaffordable. So one remembers the ‘old days’! Love scallops, have learned from the addition of the nectarines and I also grow about half a dozen different basil varieties in season! Thank you :) !

  19. Oh, talking about basils: I also love what we simply call ‘bush basil’, various kinds of purple basil and all the different Thai basils I can find :) !

  20. very nice your basil and beautiful color your salad.
    Ciao francesca

  21. Gorgeous, light, and delicious salad with the sea scallops, and the abalone, which I’ve never tasted, but looks so delicious! The grilled nectarine certainly added the perfect summery touch, and over the top flavor with all the combinations…including the basil coulis. Your basil plants of 3 kinds are amazing, healthy and robust green color!
    Have a wonderful week, Patty!

  22. That meal was worth a little power photography, so that you could enjoy it! Your plates look absolutely beautiful and I wouldn’t have been able to choose between the abalone and scallops. Love the photo of your basil, too!

  23. I love your salads. I have never had abalone but heard it is delicious. Great pictures:) Thanks for sharing.

  24. Stunning salad, Patty! I love how you made it so pretty and tasty looking! Great recipe and beautiful photos!

  25. I grilled nectarines for the first time and got addicted. I have some scallops in my fridge and I want to try this very soon. I don’t have corn but we’ll see if I can get it before cooking. Hmm thinking about it makes me very excited already, Thanks for posting this recipe Patty!

  26. I have never tried abalone, but whatever it tastes like, your salad looks fantastic.

  27. Talk about fresh fish, I’m sure this was incredibly succulent. What a wonderful recipe and you plated it so beautifully. I love the basil coulis and nectarines to make this dish a showpiece!

  28. Patty, Such gorgeous looking salads…love the abalone! Would love to try them someday! You describe them so wonderfully! As always your photos are exquisite along with your presentation!!

  29. This is just stunning, as always.

  30. Patty, this is just gorgeous. I always seem to have trouble plating/styling savory dishes with a few components but yours looks great. Haven’t had abalone in quite a while and now I really want some! :)

  31. Both dishes look absolutely delightful Patty! And your basil are gorgeous…wow, what a feast!

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