Goose(neck) Barnacles Debut on Seattle Menus
Don't judge a book by its spiky, slimy, slightly phallic cover. Reportedly, these suckers are delicious.
Goose barnacles—also known as gooseneck barnacles, stalked barnacles, horseneck barnacles, percebes, or "Oh god, what are those things?"—are already considered a delicacy in Portugal and Spain, where they’ve been known to fetch over 100 euros per scary-looking kilo. Their renown, though, is well-earned. They're said to have a delicate taste not unlike fresh crab, with a texture similar to tender octopus. Goose barnacles have sporadically popped up on menus west of the Atlantic, most notably in Toronto, but have been more or less nonexistent in Seattle—until now.
Lately, Next Hot Chef Edouardo Jordan has been serving the crustaceans at Bar Sajor. He keeps them simple, served with marble potatoes, aioli, and nasturtium flowers. They've proven popular, despite a few raised eyebrows.
"People have been asking a lot of questions," Jordan said. "People are intrigued, and once they've had them they've been quite impressed."
Something tells us they'll continue to do well here. Seattle's eaters are used to squicky invertebrates on their plates: goose barnacles, with their protruding peduncles, look an awful lot like geoducks (if perhaps a bit less, um, well-endowed). And while the crustaceans are currently harvested a hop, skip, and jump away in Vancouver BC—including those at Bar Sajor, by way of Mikuni Wild Harvest organic supplier—they can be found on Washington's coasts, too.
As of Saturday, Mikuni Wild Harvest still had barnacles available from its recent haul. We hear they're good steamed, with a bit of herb butter. (But frankly, as long as they're still coming out of Jordan's kitchen, why bother?)
As for Seattle's next gustatory trend, our money's on the reciprocally-named barnacle goose. Hey, it could happen.