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Where can I find Gooseneck Barnacles?

  • p

I haven't had any outside of Spain and Portugal, but hope (and craving) spring eternal. Can I find gooseneck barnacles in the Bay Area? (I hope I don't need a license, scuba gear, and life insurance to scrape them off the rocks.)

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  1. I'm similarly obsessed! I'll link to a piece I wrote about the lengths I went to in order to try them for the first time. And this was in Portugal! I've had a few anemic ones in New York, but I'd like the real deal again without flying back to Portugal. Pat

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/writing/patp...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Pat Hammond

      Thanks for that very interesting and mouth-watering article! I guess it's time to get down to doing research. Once that's done, and if I can find a place where these barnacles can be found, I'll post the results. In the meantime, you might want to get your scuba certification--just in case :) I have mine already.

      1. re: Pia

        Pia, here's a link to an article by Marian Burros for NYT that mentions that commercial harvesting of barnacles off British Columbia and Washington State is now banned. Looks like we're on our own for hunting/gathering mode.

        P.S. I was certified in scuba too, but am now way out of date. (g)

        Link: http://college3.nytimes.com/guests/ar...

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Hi, Melanie!
          I was deep into Google and dogpile hunting down gooseneck barnacles late last night, and I read somewhere that they are now being cultured in Washington state. Would you know any seafood purveyors who might be able to get some?

          Barring that, you may have to tell me what you know about collecting your own crustaceans so I can go foraging. (Though I am rather doubtful about the edibility of anything growing right below Cliff House.)

          1. re: Pia

            I'd probably start with Monterey Fish Market (link below) - they will work hard to find what you want.

            Initially you threw me with the reference to crustaceans. But lo and behold, gooseneck barnacles are indeed crustaceans (some other kinds of "barnacles" are mollusks). The beach DC mentioned is further down the coast in Santa Cruz County. The tide should be favorable this weekend and the weather continues fair until Tuesday - a good combination that we may not see again this winter.

            I inquired of a Venezuelan friend in the South Bay about percebes. He said, "The perceves were Montse's father's favorite. I only had them once in Barcelona, they are wonderful. Montse's mom boiled them-you could taste the sea."

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    2. Good news/ bad news. I only know of where you can forage for them. It's really not that dificult, but you do need a one day fishing lisc. (only $6) We go out to Greyhound Rock, just south of Wadell Creek and scrape 'em off the rocks. At low tide it's pretty easy pickings. You can get more than you need in 20 min. Feel free to e-mail me for more precise directions.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Detlef Chef

        It's minus tide this weekend with the new moon...time for an excursion to Davenport. How are the conditions at the beach? And, more importantly, how do you cook these after you've gathered them?

        1. re: Detlef Chef

          Here's an article about harvesting percebes in Spain. Please tell me it's easier here.

          Link: http://college4.nytimes.com/guests/ar...

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I don't know if the Goosenecks that we find at Greyhound Rock are of the quality that those brave souls in Spain go for, but I can assure you that the risk is nowhere near as high. At most you need a sturdy pair of shoes (that you don't mind ruining with salt water) and (for those who like to stay warm) a wet suit. The worst that's ever happened to me is that I got soaked by an unexpected wave. Nothing remotely life threatening. The barnacles that we get from there are small and pretty darn hideous, but oh so sweet. We just steam them up with garlic and wine, twist the outer skin away from the beak, and eat them one by one. Is this the same thing that you all are talking about? The great thing about Greyhound is that there's a great mussel rock and a bunch of edible seaweed to snack upon. If some people want to get together for a trip, I'd be glad to show everyone around. I'll check the tide charts and come up with some good days. If we're lucky, my chantrelle spots will be blooming and we can have an entirely foraged meal. I'll keep you posted

            1. re: Detlef Chef

              That sounds great! Does one have to wade to get to the harvesting area or will the goodies be above the water line at minus tide?

              My one foray into musseling was a wonderful food-filled today with very little effort. I'd be up for that and mushroom hunting too. I was lucky to receive David Arora's "Mushrooms Demystified" for Christmas and have been developing my "mushroom eyes" and consciousness. There's a whole world of edible fungi out there that I was blind to before.

              Link: http://chowhound.com/chowmarket/index...

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                To get to the goosenecks, you may have to wade in shin-deep water depending on the tide. As for the Mussels, the best spot out there requires no wading, but is a little dangerous. You have to do a bit of rock climbing to get down to the shelf. It's really not that bad unless you have a fear of heights. As far as the mushrooms are concerned, my best spots are on the property of the people that I cook for. Unfortunately, out of respect for them, I don't like to bring people there. As it turns out, it's been a really bad year for them anyway, so a mushroom hunt could prove to be a waste of time. None the less, if we have time, we could hit a few of my "public" spots. I'll just try to have some on hand for dinner.

                1. re: Detlef Chef

                  Wading? I'm trying to recruit a friend's 4 children for this task. (g)

                  I'm in if it's Jan. 27.

              2. re: Detlef Chef

                Oh, the barnacles, mussels, and chanterelles sound soooooo very tempting! Thank you so much for sharing the information, Detlef Chef! I'd love to say I'm going out to scrape those critters off the rocks, and to feast on them steamed in white wine and garlic, but I've got a prior committment for a Zinfandel tasting on the 26th.

                Let me know if some Chowhounds are going on the 27th and, if I can muster the courage and a suitable costume, I'd be interested in trying to collect enough food to feed my 7-year hunger for percebes.

                1. re: Pia

                  Pia, I'm zinning from morning till way into the night on the 26th too. But it is possible that I'll rally and shake the hangover by the afternoon of the 27th. Let's talk up that date.

                  P.S. Come see me at the Joseph Swan Vineyards table - I'm a volunteer pourer.