Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Eat ’em! (Cicada Recipes)

Most experts agree that cicadas are a rich source of protein with about the same amount per pound as red meat. Cicadas are also said to be full of vitamins and minerals, low in fat, and they have zero carbs. So why aren’t more people eating them? Maybe because the thought of eating a bug makes you dry-heave!? But if you think about it, shrimp and crawfish are pretty much cicadas without wings. In fact, crawfish, lobster, crabs, shrimp, and insects are all part of the same biological phylum of arthropods.

Brave (or crazy folks) say cicadas are crispy and crunchy, with a nutty, almondlike, flavor. Iroquois indians have a long history of eating cicadas and considered them to be a delicacy.

The best time to eat cicadas is just after the nymphs break open their skin and before the exoskeleton turns hard. They are best harvested in the cool of the morning when the insects are more sluggish. Experienced gatherers focus on the adult females, each of which can contain up to 600 nutritious eggs.
Males tend to have hollow abdomens in order to help them make the cicada sound, and are better as a crunchy snack, like popcorn.

Cicadas can be cooked in a large frying pan in a way similar to popcorn. The taste is similar to the "crispy edges of the egg white of a fried egg." A popular way to prepare cicadas is to saute them in butter with crushed garlic and basil. Before you start your cooking you need to remove all the hard parts: wings, legs and head. These parts don’t contain much of the meat either but may be very sharp, so its best to get rid of them.

Cicadas can also be dry-roasted on a stick like a marshmallow over a fire. Other popular cicada recipes include Cicada Stir-Fry and Cicada Dumplings. Deep fried cicadas taste best when eaten with hot mustard or cocktail sauce. (Any sauce used for lobster should also work well to garnish cicadas.) Cicadas can also be roasted, which tends to give them a "nutty", or almondlike, flavor.
Cicada Tacos:

Ingredients: two tablespoons butter or peanut oil, one and a half pound of cicadas, one teaspoon of chili powder, one tomato, finely chopped, one onion, finely chopped, one and a half table spoon ground pepper, one and a half table spoon cumin, three table spoon taco seasoning mix, one handful cilantro, chopped, Taco shells, Sour cream, Shredded cheddar cheese, Shredded lettuce.

Cooking instructions:
1. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the cicadas for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
2. Remove from pan and roughly chop into 1/4-inch cubes/ Place back in pan.
3. Add the chopped onions, chilies and tomato, season with salt, and fry for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
4. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin and oregano to taste.
5. Serve in taco shells and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, lettuce and cheddar cheese. 

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  1. Sounds really yummy, would try it out but living here down in Florida.

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  3. Some friends are going to try and bring some back to Maine from DC, lets hope they make the trip here. I am very excited to test them out. I bet they are a great source of protein. We should stock up since we only get this crowd every 17 years!

  4. If you want more recipes, I've published "Cooking with Cicadas" on (paperback and Kindle) ... I am currently expanding the cookbook and looking for people to contribute their recipes ... if accepted, they will appear in the new edition with attribution (e.g., Recipe courtesy of Mark Terragio, Rockville, MD) ... send to - Thanks

  5. im going to try these for sure, might not be around to try them next time

  6. im going to try these for sure, might not be around to try them next time