How To Cook And Peel Gooseneck Barnacles For A Unique Dish

- It's definitely a

lot easier in daylight.

A lot of times we have to

come out here at this time

just because it's what

the tide will allow.

We have to time it up specifically

to be able to access this.

So these are gooseneck barnacles.

We've harvested these off of Barview Jetty

in Tillamook Bay.

(gentle music)

These are a type of crustacean

closely related to shrimp and lobster.

Really popular ingredient

harvested in Spain and Portugal.

We have one of the most

abundant populations

of this species in Oregon, but they're not

a huge commercial product.

The Pacific Coast is

typically the only place

that these are found.

Puget Sound down to Baja.

(waves crashing)

(upbeat piano music)


Most of the things that we serve

are not yet in the market

or a part of the culture

of things that we eat yet.

So that's kind of what

we're trying to show here.

So basically, the barnacles all grow

down here on the rocks.

When the tide is high the surf hits them.

We're gonna try to find some that appear

when the waves come back down

and we're gonna swoop in and harvest them.

What do you think?

You see anything?

Yeah, we should just get down there.

This is the tide that you want

cause it's coming in like crazy like that.

Just wonder, do we have

access to anything?

Should we call it off?

- [Nick] I like this wave approaching.

- We're bout to get

wiped out here right now.


So we just kind of wanted

to show you in the daylight

where we are gonna harvest the barnacles.

The tide's a little bit too high right now

but we're gonna come

back a little bit later

this evening when the tide's low.

It's gonna be dark outside though.

So we're gonna change locations

to Three Graces rock formation.

It's also in Tillamook Bay,

it's just right down the street.

And there we gather

several different varieties

of seaweed, as well as

sea snails and limpets.

(water gurgling)

(water gurgling)

About 30% of the menu we source ourselves

and those are kind of the

more spotlight ingredients,

like, hey, this is

something that could either

become a market or it's

something that is a market

somewhere else that

we're just trying to say,

hey, you can eat this too here in Oregon

because it's plentiful.

Cause it's all about

rotating the fisheries,

instead of always, always,

always hitting the exact

same fisheries one after another.

We're trying to present these things

and show that it can be done

in a fine dining aspect.

(waves crashing)

- So this is a limpet.

It's a variety of sea snail.

They attach themselves to the rocks here

on the intertidal zone.

If we hesitate and you

don't immediately scrape it,

it attaches itself and

it's really difficult

to take off without damaging it.

You don't see this on anybody's menu.

These are really popular in

other parts of the world,

but I'm not aware of any other restaurant

serving these right now,

in the states at least.

(water gurgling)

- We've also harvested three different

kinds of seaweed here.

And then last are the dog

whelks which are braised

and then served at the end of the meal

as one of the savory courses.

You have to hit these with a hammer

to get the meat out.

(gentle piano music)

(footsteps crunching)

(distant talking)

We can access certain clusters

when the tide is high,

but depending on the weather,

sometimes that's a little bit dangerous,

so we typically go at a lower tide.

A lot of times that happens

to be in the middle of the night.

So we go in the dark,

lanterns, headlights.

We try to map out the

are as much as we can

and access things that are further out

at really good low tides.

We save clusters that we can come back

to when it's not as good of a tide

or even a higher tide.


Kinda doesn't make any sense

cause they're like everywhere,

but we're kind of like

hemming and hawing around

cause it's a pretty invasive process.

You're literally uprooting

something off a rock,

so you just wanna make

sure it's the right thing

before you take it off cause

you can't really reverse that.

The way the regulation works

is that can you only harvest

them from a manmade structure,

such as a pier or a jetty.

And also, you're only

allowed to take one cluster

every 10 feet, that's maybe the size

of a volleyball or something.

We think that the size of

them is really important,

so they kind of have to be

about as wide as they are tall.

See how this one's like real long?

Like, it's not an ideal,

it's not a perfect one.

But these little chubby ones

are exactly what you're looking for.

It takes about 20 years for barnacles

to grow to this size,

so that's why we only

take such a small amount

in the cluster because if

there's a cluster established,

a lot of the seedlings

can attach to that cluster

and regrow a lot more quickly.

But if you were to take

everything off the rock,

it could take hundreds

of years if not ever

for them to come back to that spot.

So it's really important

that the guidelines

are followed when they're harvested.

(upbeat music)

There are different grades and qualities

based on where they grow,

how hard of surf they're in,

and basically what side

of the rock they grow on.

So here in this cluster,

we have what we would call

a B grade barnacle.

So this is a cluster and

you can see by the color

and just the density of them

that they're just not gonna

have as much meat inside.

So this is something that we

would sell for a cheaper price

if we were wholesaling them.

These ones here are also a cluster size,

but you can see by the color of them

that they're a little bit denser

and usually that has to do with the fact

that they're in a harder surf area

so they're feeding more often

and they become stronger

because they have to hold on tighter.

And then here we have two

examples of grade A barnacles

and they're just graded by size

and then these are the same

and these are just slightly larger,

so this would be basically a

primo gooseneck barnacle here.

So the barnacles are

prepared a very specific way.

It's simple, but also

pretty easy to mess up.

So we cook them in seawater

that we use from just redissolving salt

that we make from Netarts Bay seawater

into boiling water and then

the barnacles are blanched

really quickly for about

45 seconds to one minute.

Taken out, we put them in ice water

till they're chilled through.

Drain them off and then

we'll go through the process

of cleaning them back

on the cutting board.

And these are gonna sit here in this water

for about 45 seconds to a minute.

I usually cut into one to

make sure that the skin

is separated from the meat and

the meat has cooked through.

So we kind just check one.

I just cut the end of it off

and you can see that the skin

has separated from the meat.

Then we just wanna make sure

that they're thoroughly chilled.

Takes about five minutes for

them to cool down all the way,

but it's like blanching anything.

You don't wanna let anything

sit in the ice water

for excessive amount of

time cause then the flavor

will start to dilute.

So just until it's chilled

through and then we remove it.

(upbeat music)

So how the barnacle feeds

as it sits on the rock,

this mouth part will open and

a long feeler will come out

and they basically grab plankton

as it filters the water.

So this is what absorbs

the majority of the sand.

A lot of people that use

these for the first time

have a bad experience

with them being sandy,

so basically we take

this after it's opened up

and we rinse this out really well,

right into the mouth of it.

And then we'll remove that piece.

Then we come back to the

cutting board after that's done.

We cut the end of this off and

then come up the side here.

The skin is really hard

so we don't use that,

we just peel it off.

So then we have our barnacle here

and as you can there's the meat exposed.

The head of the barnacle is not edible.

It's basically like a rock

and that's where a lot

of the sand storage is

that we just washed out.

So we're just gonna clip that piece away.

It's just really crucial that

all these are cleaned properly

because one piece of sand can ruin

the entire dining experience.

It is a pretty decent yield,

especially 'cause these pieces

weigh almost nothing, so it's

about a 75% yield on meat

for these ones that are grade A.

So that's essentially what

makes it more valuable.

So then we basically come through here

and we're just gonna slice

this into bite-sized pieces

and then we'll serve it with

the juice from the barnacles.

So a lot of the smaller

ones that we talked about

that don't have as much meat in them,

we extract the juice from

them by steaming them,

like as you would like steamer clams

and it's used to marinate

the nicer specimens.


So it's really crunchy

and then it become tender

and then it dissolves in your mouth,

it's like amazing texture,

really clean, clean ocean flavor.

Really mild, sweet, briny.

Like, if you were comparing

this to something else,

I would say it's a lot closer

to cooked shrimp or

crabmeat or lobster meat

as it would be to shellfish,

clams, or oysters,

which have a much more

assertive flavor and texture.

This is one of the easier things to eat

that comes out of the ocean.

We're just gonna be plating

them into this shell here.

This is a shell from a cockle.

I just use it for presentation.

And this is a juice from the barnacles

that we talked about earlier,

from the young barnacles.

That just gets spooned over.

It's been acidulated with a little bit

of lemon juice and then.

(liquid splashing)

This oil that we finish

it with is made from fig leaves

that have been preserved and then grilled.

I'm always curious about new ingredients.

If you have your eyes open

and you're always paying attention

and trying new things,

there are just premium products

that no one even knows exist there.