Abalone is a large mollusk that clings to rocks and is covered with a single iridescent shell. The edible part is the muscular foot that holds the shell to the rock. Fresh abalone is available only in California; canned or frozen is available in the other states.
To prepare fresh abalone, cut out the foot with a sharp knife. Trim away the dark fringe, stomach, and intestines. Rinse the foot and cut it across the grain into 1/2-inch slices. Pound the slices with a mallet until soft.
Saute abalone less than 1 minute per side in butter, oil, or bacon drippings; serve with lemon wedges. For variety, cut the slices into strips for stir-fry dishes or chop them for chowder.