Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / email@example.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.
Espardenyes, sea cucumbers, also called by the far less appetizing name, sea slugs, and you can read below, by quite a more exotic name by the fishermen in Cádiz.
Espardenyes (in Catalan), espardenyas (in Spanish), the sea cucumbers, were once considered junk creatures from the sea and were usually only consumed by fisherman in Catalunya, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. Now espardenyes, in limited supply, are considered a delicacy and are quite expensive. Espardenyes creatures secrete a substance that forms a reddish, rough, linear protective outer body, whose texture resembles the outer shell of starfish.
Espardenyes, it has been written, have evolved a unique defense against a tiny parasite fish that invades the espardenyes's outer covering and dines on the sexual organs of its host. The affected espardenya, merely (it would seem) rejects and jettisons the gnawed-on genitalia, then begins anew by re-generating the preyed upon (and undoubtedly prayed for) sexual organ in question. Ironically, in the ports of Cádiz, on the Atlantic side of Spain, espardenyas (Spanish) are popularly know as carajos de mar (carajo is a naughty, but commonly used slang term for a phallus).
Now espardenyes, in limited supply, are considered a delicacy in Catalunya and are quite expensive.
"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter.
"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Arts
"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.
". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.
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