Ingredient of the Year 2014: Gooseneck Barnacles

No other foodstuff captured the imagination of so many trendsetting kitchens this year. From Secret Location to Blue Water, L’Abattoir to The Farmer’s Apprentice, these disturbing crustaceans found instantaneous, wildly enthusiastic welcome. There are few places in the world where these curious critters are harvested; the west coast of Vancouver Island is one once again, thanks to the revival of a sustainable Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation fishery (shut down by the feds in 2005 after centuries of harvesting). A true conversation piece, the sweetly briny stalks (a cross between a lobster and a clam, worshipped in Spain and Portugal) are best enjoyed simply sautéed on the shell and eaten as a finger food.