The sea cucumber is an echinoderm with an elongated, cylindrical, muscular, wrinkled body and the mouth surrounded by tentacles. It belongs to the same family as the sea urchins. In Ibiza, we know the sea cucumber as the Espardenya.
The part of the Espardenya that is eaten is its digestive tract which the fishermen themselves are responsible to remove. Cooking it involves cutting it in half, cutting off the tips and removing any sand.
In Ibiza, we can find espardenyes in sandy or muddy depths and often, they are between 20 and 40 centimetres in length, although in other places in the world, there are varieties that can measure up to 5 meters.
They are always fun for the children, who use them to “shoot” a jet of water in the mouth as if they were a water gun. Well, one of the curious facts of this animal, it is defending itself from its predators by ejecting its entrails through the mouth; therefore they get distracted eating such organs, while they can escape. It is not a problem for them because their entrails will grow back without problems.
In Ibiza, they are between 20 and 40 centimetres in length, although in other places in the world, there are varieties that can measure up to 5 meters.
The Espardenya is considered to be seafood with a mild flavour and texture but tasty at the same time, a little bit like a squid. Today, it is considered a gourmet product.
We can find different recipes for cooking the traditional Espardenyas: with rice, sofrito, grilled, roasted, sautéed with garlic and parsley, etc.
At the Cala Bassa Beach Club we cook them using the latter method, would you dare to try them out?