“Percebe” in Spanish and “lamperna” in basque

Goose barnacles in the Basque Country is one of those strange things that are eaten in northern Spain. It is a seafood that grows on the most exposed rocks of the North Atlantic Ocean from Portugal and northern Spain to the coasts of France and the United Kingdom. It needs very rich and wild seas. This type of barnacle grows in the heart of the cliffs in its most inaccessible cracks, where the waves beat without stopping. This type of molluscs are found clinging to the rock and remain immobile, that is to say that they do not move. They grow in colonies of numerous individuals and hey have a head protected by a shell where resides what may look like a crab. With this part it filters the water and obtains its food. They feed on the plankton of the sea. The part more appreciated by the gastronomy is the muscular part that unites the mollusk to the rock. . It is a very fleshy and juicy part of the mollusk.

How they collect it from the rocks?

It is a risky profession since the “percebeiros” must go down to the rocks tied up with a safety harness and take advantage of the moments when the waves are not coming. At that moment they descend into the crevice and begin to collect the mollusks. Their companion who is in the highest part warns him of when the waves come. At that moment the “percebeiro” goes up again to the high part of the rock and waits for the sea to go down again. It is very risky but the price may be worth it because the market price per kilo is between 60€ and 120€. Depending on the origin and size of the specimens. The bigger the better!

How to cook them?

It’s very simple, you put water with salt(70 grames per liter) in a pot and heat it up until it is boiling. If you want you can add a bay leaf to give a special aroma. When the water boils, add the barnacles, at that moment it will stop boiling. Immediately when it starts boiling again wait for 1 minute and the “barnacles” are removed to a plate. We recommend opening a bottle of white wine such as a bottle of Txakoli from Guetaria.

What can be said about its taste? It is as if you eat a bit of sea. It tastes like the sea!


Video of the percebes fishing in Galicia, the gaelic part of Spain.


YouTube video

This recipe of roasted pigeon is from one of the best cheffs in San Sebastian, Juan Mari Arzak. If you like this kind of food don´t forget to taste it next time you come back.

Ingredients for 4 people

4 pigeons, 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil, salt, and white pepper.

For the Porto and liquorice sauce
The carcasses of the pigeon and the legs, 1 onion, 2 leeks, 1 spoonful of chopped thyme, 1 spoonful of chopped parsley, 1 dl of red port, 1 dl of red wine, 1 stick of liquorice, half a liter of water, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, salt and pepper

In addition

2 william pears and some sprigs of fresh thyme.


For the roasted pigeon

Salt and pepper the pigeons inside and out. Remove the carcasses of the pigeons by removing the breasts. Sauté the breasts and legs with sunflower oil in a casserole and then bake them at 220 degrees for 5 or 6 minutes. Then, take them out and let them rest for a few minutes.

For the Porto and liquorice sauce

Brown the carcasses in the oil. Once browned, add the chopped vegetables and herbs. Sauté and add port and red wine as well as the liquorice stick. Then add water and let it reduce to half its volume. Strain it and put it on the fire again until it reduces by half again. Finally, add salt and pepper and strain without crushing.


Heat the pigeon breasts for a few moments (au gratin in the oven). Chop the pears and brown them in a pan with butter. Place the breasts alternating with the previously browned pears.Pour the sauce over them and decorate with thyme sprigs.


This is the way i do it at home with the wings and the legs.

roasted pigeon