Gooseneck barnacles are so ugly it’s hard to think of them as food. We’ve heard that in Spain and Portugal, percebes can cost up to $200 per kilo at restaurants. If people are spending that much to have them with a glass of Sherry, they must be pretty special.
On a recent trip to the far side of Vancouver Island we spotted some on the rocks at low tide and took the opportunity to see what the fuss was all about.
A very low tide gave access to rocks that are usually out of reach.
Gooseneck barnacles compete with the mussels for space.
Because they are filter feeders, they prefer turbulent waters. The biggest ones grow on the far, ocean-facing side of the rocks.
The big Pacific waves help the muscle grow fat and long.
A sampling of seafood from the rocks.
Hard to believe that inside these dinosaur-like heads and leathery bodies hides incredibly tender flesh with a flavour something like shrimp crossed with scallops.
Click through to see them cooked and served.
Continue reading “West Coast Gooseneck Barnacles”
Kamala clapped her hands loudly, so that the golden bangles tinkled. “Your poetry is very good, brown Samana, and truly there is nothing to lose if I give you a kiss for it.” She drew him to her with her eyes. He put his face against hers, placed his lips against hers, which were like a freshly cut fig.”
Siddhartha (Herman Hesse, 1922)
This passage always comes to mind when Vancouver’s fig trees are heavy with fat fruit in the hot weeks of August. But the simile “like a freshly cut fig ” did not conjure up a very desirable image when I read the passage for the first time as a teenager. At that point I was only familiar with dried, wrinkled brown figs that came threaded onto a loop of straw. It was decades before I first met up with the luscious red interior of a fresh one and finally understood.
We like to poach these summer treats with ginger and cardamom and serve with a scoop of ice cream, or slice thickly for a pizza topping.
This year Aya made some wonderful tarts (click any image to see larger photos):
Fresh, fat figs.
Slices soaking in lemon-cardamom syrup.
Slices assembled atop a bed of almond filling and pastry.
Ready for the oven.
Caramelized fig almond tart, with lemon and cardamom.
Fig and nectarine tart with almond.
Click through to see how the pizzas turned out.
Continue reading “Summer Figs”
Sudachi are golf ball-sized citrus, prized in Japan for their intense flavour and aroma. You might find a paper-thin slice atop a grilled fish or a curl of rind in a steamed custard.
If you’re lucky, it might be the even-more-fragrant (and expensive) yuzu.
In an brazen attempt to bring down the culture by turning its basic culinary tenets on their head, we decided to make sudachi marmalade.
No-one in the history of Japan has ever done this.
Why would they? It is insane, and not delicious.
We are ill-equipped to judge the sanity of making sudachi marmalade…
…but we can tell you that it is insanely delicious.
Dark, bitter and densely packed with everything good about marmalade, it has the aroma of limes that have been meditating for years on the true nature of citrus.
For our next trick, we decided to make a batch with Key Limes.
Florida was unfazed by this.
Continue reading “Green Citrus Marmalades”
A while back, on a walk in the Ontario woods with Keith’s mother, we found a big food. We couldn’t just leave it there. We like to think we rescued it.
Click through to discover its fate.
Continue reading “Puffball”
You know we love black garlic.
Takes about 3 weeks to make. Consistency like jellied dates* and sweet but still very garlicky. Turns out it’s very good on pizza, which surprised exactly no-one.
Continue reading “On Pizza?”
We thought this broken planter could be a poster for a movie about Richard Nixon and the secret sadness he kept hidden from everyone.
We posted it to a discussion forum a few weeks ago and someone out there on the Internet liked it so much they made this:
Continue reading “Sad Nixon”