Barnacles are scary looking things that grow attached to rocks and or concrete near shorelines, they are, as I discovered recently, very tasty.
I had seen them before in fish markets but they looked too foreign to me to even inquire or be curious about them, however , thru my market strolls in European Farmers Markets, I kept seeing them all over, first in Valencia at the Central Market, where I learned that they are very easy to prepare, you throw them in salted bowling water for 5 minutes and serve. Ok, seams easy enough; none the less, I did not try them there either.
Then while in Lisbon, Portugal, where they are even more present every where I went, I decided to try them once and for all. A local city guide “Pedro” recommended I go to Cervejaria Ramiro (Ramiros Seafood) and try them, according to him they also offer the best seafood in town. When you go there, you are handed a tablet where you see all the items available that day, the prices are quoted by kilogram or by unit ( which means if you order one unit of shrimp scampi, you will get one order or approximately 10 to 12 shrimp), for the items quoted by kilograms, you can order as little or as much as you want, for example, I ordered 1/4 kilogram (pictured below) of barnacles and one jumbo shrimp.
I will be honest and say that I had no idea on how to eat this when it got to me, so as I was staring at these funny looking things , I literally googled “how to eat barnacles” and I quote “To eat a gooseneck barnacle, you must first peel off the brown skin encasing its neck. Grasping the shell-clad foot, tear the skin downward from the point where it meets the shell. It should come off in one piece, almost as a sock would slide off a foot” it was exactly like that, once I tried the first one , I was in heaven and thought to my self , barnacles, where have you been all of my life? they where delicious , if you like crab, shrimp , crawfish or any shellfish, you will like this.
Be adventurous, order them next time you see them on a menu , you will be happy you did.