Billions of Brood II cicadas are set to hatch this spring, bringing a once every 17 years plague to most of the East Coast. The deafening insects will mate and then die over the course of about six weeks, making an unmistakable racket the entire time.
But some foodies embrace the insect onslaught, using the high-protein, nutty flavored bugs in all sorts of dishes, from tacos and pizza to cookies and even a martini.
The key to harvesting the bugs for eating, [Gene Kritsky] said, is when they are newly hatched, called tenerals, sometime in the early morning. They should be white and still soft, with the females and their distinctive pointy abdomens the most appetizing and nutritious because of their protein-filled eggs.
Eating the insects dates back to at least the Iroquois Indians in upstate New York, Kritsky said. The tribe would dig up the young insects and dry roast them. [A] 1906 article described a Baltimore tradition of “seasonal cicada pie”.
Oh yes. And there are recipes:
“El Chirper” Tacos
- 2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
- 1/2 pound newly-emerged cicadas
- 3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper or to taste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp taco seasoning mix
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- Taco shells, to serve
- Sour cream
- Shredded Cheddar cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the cicadas for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Remove from pan and roughly chop into 1/4 inch cubes. Place back in pan.
- Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt, and fry for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste.
- Serve in taco shells and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, and Cheddar cheese.
Via Daily News for the full story…and more recipes.