Abalone & Hamachi Shooter


Recipe from Chef Gevin Utrillo at Japengo


Judges at the 2011 Kapalua Wine & Food Festival tasted this sublime combination of precious abalone and tender hamachi, sauced with handmade ponzu and injected with the concentrated sweetness of watermelon, and promptly declared it Best of the Fest. The dish was such a crowd pleaser that we asked Chef Utrillo to share the recipe.

Try it at home if you have the patience and time (and access to all those exotic ingredients), or stop by Japengo at the Hyatt Regency Maui, where (hurrah!) it’s on the menu.

Abalone Hamachi Shooter


  • 1 oz. hamachi (yellowtail tuna)
  • 1 oz. watermelon, cut into block
  • 12 pcs. poached abalone, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. tobiko (flying fish roe), orange
  • 1 tsp. tobiko, green 3/4 tsp. wasabi, freshly grated*
  • 9 oz. heirloom tomato water
  • 3 tsp. emperor’s ponzu
  • 6 drops extra virgin olive oil, lemon flavored
  • 2 tsp. green onions, sliced thin
  • 12 sprigs rainbow micro greens

Method: Dice hamachi. Vacuum watermelon block in vacuum-seal machine at highest setting. Open package and dice watermelon. Set up 6 tall shot glasses and fill each with diced hamachi and watermelon. To each shot glass add, in order: 2 slices poached abalone, pinch of orange tobiko and green tobiko, pinch of wasabi. Pour 1 1/2 oz. heirloom tomato water into each shot glass; add ½ tsp. emperor’s ponzu. Place 1 drop of lemon-flavored extra virgin olive oil on each serving. Top with sliced green onions and 2 sprigs of rainbow micro greens.

Poached Big Island Abalone:

  • 8 oz. 7-Up soda
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sake
  • 2 tsp. mirin
  • 1 oz. daikon
  • 3 oz. abalone

Method: Combine all liquids and daikon in a sauce pot and bring to a boil on stove. Clean abalone with brush and drop into poaching liquid. Reduce heat and simmer abalone 20 minutes or until tender. Pour entire contents into shallow pan and cool in refrigerator overnight.

Emperor’s Ponzu:

  • 16 oz. soy sauce
  • 8 oz. rice vinegar
  • 8 oz. mirin
  • 1/4 orange
  • 1 1/2 tsp. konbu (kelp)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. katsuoboshi (dried bonito fish flakes)

Method: Combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin a container. Add remaining ingredients and steep. (Note: At Japengo, the ponzu is steeped at least 3 months for a deeper, fuller flavor.)

Heirloom Tomato Water:

  • 1 lb. fresh heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • cheesecloth

Method: In a food processor, pulse tomatoes and salt to a rough puree. Layer and overlap a medium-sized colander with lots of cheesecloth. Twelve layers is sufficient; the more layers, the clearer the tomato water. Place colander over plastic container. Pour pureed tomato into colander and fold each layer of cheesecloth, tying each corner together every 3 layers. Place a weight over the tied cheesecloth to help the tomatoes drain. Cool in refrigerator overnight.


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