Portugal is no stranger to a wide variety of high quality seafood, and you are probably no stranger to most of the portuguese seafood that is consumed (no matter how much better it may be over here). However this piece isn’t dedicated to your run-of-the-mill shrimp, crab, lobster, or even any of bi-shelled mollusk; If there’s a personal favorite of AtWiil´s team in the world of delicious treats one can get from the sea, it would have to be the percebes- the goose neck barnacles. Most of you readers are certainly from outside of the Iberian peninsula and as a result might not be familiarized with this type of barnacle, instead associating the label to something you’d find at the bottom of a ship’s hull, but worry not, this mollusk actually resides as large groups attached to rocks where the strong tide meets the land.
Percebes are cooked simply by boiling and it’s edible portion is the neck-like section covered in a type of strong skin that can be easily slid off like a sleeve by applying a gentle twist to the base of the “head” of the barnacle. These wonderful and fairly uncommon delicacies have a sweet salty flesh that tastes like a bite straight from the sea, a bit of a cross-over between a clam and lobster. In some places they may be served with a light spicy crab flavoured sauce sprayed over it, and despite being available all year-round, it’s most common in March, June, September and December. Since this delicious animal grows on the tidal break areas, it’s harvest is actually rather dangerous, and the danger and uncertainty of it’s attainment reflects on it’s price, however in places like Portugal and Spain percebes are not terribly rare and thus fairly accessible to the public- 100% worth the try.