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A SUBSTITUTE FOR ABALONE

My fish of the month column for August is about the newest rage in a seafood delicacy to replace the scarce and incredibly expensive abalone. It is derived from the shellfish "wavy top turban" and has been trademarked Wavalone by David Gnade, an abalone diver and processor who successfully discovered how to process it so that it is as tender as abalone. The turban and abalone actually live on the same reefs and feed on the same food source, so it isn't surprising that they also taste very much alike. I had the pleasure of meeting Dave and learning from him how to best prepare his sensational new product.

He told me that some years back he was given a can of wavy top turban, tried it and found it tasted almost exactly the same as canned abalone. At that point he decided that he wanted to experiment with it using his skills as an abalone processor. He told me that he failed horribly -- it was tough as shoe leather! He never really gave up and at least twice a year would experiment, only to again fail.

However, as the founder of Ocean Floor Abalone he was always trying to learn new and better ways to tenderize their abalone product and in the process finally figured out how to succeed with the wavy top as well. Actually, Dave told me it came to him while floating in a swimming pool in Costa Rica!

The following easy-to-make recipe is one I actually cooked for Dave, and he liked it so much that I decided to share it with my readers. Wavalone is now available in some fish markets throughout the country. However, if you aren't able to find it you can order it by writing to David Gnade at Ocean Floor Seafoods, 8670 Miramar Road, Suite D, San Diego, Calif. 92126 or calling him at (619) 271-5193.

WAVALONE MINUTE STEAKS

2slices whole-wheat bread, torn into pieces

4Wavalone steaks, 6 ounces

Lemon-flavored non-stick cooking spray
Put the bread pieces in a food processor or a blender and blend until you have soft crumbs. Spread the bread crumbs out evenly on a large plate. Very carefully coat both sides of the Wavalone steaks with the crumbs and set aside.

Spray a large, non-stick skillet with the lemon-flavored cooking spray and place it over medium high heat. Heat until hot enough for drops of water to dance on the surface. Carefully place the breaded steaks on the hot skillet and cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, or until a golden brown. Do not overcook or the Wavalone will become tough.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains approximately 124 calories, 1 gram fat, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 321 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein.

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