Let’s imagine the summary of a cooking show in a few years: “To make this recipe, you will need 200 grams of cricket flour, some onions and various vegetables, 6 eggs, and of course 4 whole crickets, etc.”. Anticipation or pure science fiction? It is difficult to answer this question categorically…
However, one thing seems certain: eating edible insects is one of the most serious solutions to enable the world’s ever-increasing population to meet its protein needs, either as a supplement to or in place of traditional meats. Indeed, the breeding and food consumption of edible insects have many advantages, both for humans and for the planet. Naturally rich in proteins, nutrients and vitamins, insects also offer production methods that are much more environmentally friendly than those of the meat industry. To obtain the same amount of protein, raising edible insects requires less water, fewer resources, less space and generates 100 times less greenhouse gas emissions.
Convinced? So let’s head for the ovens!
The simplest recipes: flavoured insects for the aperitif
The appetizer is a great gateway to entomophagy, the eating of edible insects, as it adds a fun aspect and a fun challenge for those who have never had the opportunity to try it and feel slightly apprehensive. The star of the insects for the aperitif is without question the cricket. Easily available in many sizes and varieties, crickets are among the most consumed insects in the world because of their taste close to the classic foods such as almonds and hazelnuts.
The main source of inspiration for the choice of ingredients used to flavor these crickets comes from the countries where they are regularly eaten, namely Thailand and India. If you have natural crickets, here are some ideas of products that allow you to obtain tasty recipes, by making a simple marinade before serving them, or to sprinkle directly on your crickets: Thai basil and/or curry, lime, wasabi, or even sweet pepper. It is also possible to consume edible crickets with ingredients and sauces usual in our latitudes, such as salt and vinegar, mayonnaise or a more or less spicy ketchup.If you are looking for an even stronger challenge, while remaining friendly, it is easy to propose a small tarantula fry seasoned to your taste, or serve your guests a migratory locust salad with your favorite ingredients. Like the varieties of edible crickets, the cricket is a textbook case of the value of eating insects. Indeed, in addition to its rich and complete nutritional contribution, its breeding allows to transform this formidable predator of the food crops in Africa into an ecological source of proteins. To conclude this overview of edible insects particularly suitable for an aperitif with friends, it is impossible not to mention the spectacular black scorpion, whose shrimp-like flavor goes perfectly with lime or nuoc-mam sauce.
Real dishes made with insects
The main source of inspiration for entomophagous cuisine comes directly from Asian countries where insects are most consumed, but we will see that it is also possible to integrate these insects into French cuisine.
If Asian cuisine makes your taste buds salivate in advance, we recommend this delicious Cambodian-style cricket recipe, or this palm worm wok. It is also very easy to cook your favorite Asian recipes by adding some fried crickets or locusts, or use them to replace the meat in the original recipe. To discover the sensations and flavors of black ants, let’s leave Asia, and head to Mexico to make a few tacos of a childish simplicity, by adding garlic and onions to a frying of ants’ eggs.
Adapting recipes from French or Western cuisine to entomophagy usually only requires a little imagination and creativity. Here are some simple examples of how to eat and cook edible insects:
- To revisit a traditional quiche, replace the lardons with small crickets or silkworms that you have taken care to fry in a pan.
- If you want to make a gratin, mash or blend edible grasshoppers, crickets or cicadas until you have a puree. Then alternate layers of this insect mashed potato with layers of mashed potatoes in a dish, incorporating aromatic herbs, cover with cheese and bake.
- Paella also lends itself to the incorporation of insects: replace the shrimp with fried and salted scorpions or crickets and you’re done.
- To recapture the flavours of the Mediterranean, make a tomato sauce the way you’re used to by adding just finely chopped grasshoppers or crickets. Serve this sauce with spaghetti or white fish to impress and amaze your guests.
It also seems appropriate to highlight the important role that cricket meal can play in cooking and eating edible insects. Very easy to use and visually neutral, it can be mixed with traditional flour to bake pies and pizzas, or to make homemade bread or pasta.
And for dessert, a bug?
Dessert lovers, don’t worry! The particularity of some edible insects is that they can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. As with salty food, the only limit is your culinary creativity and your taste for discovery. In addition to cricket flour, which is very simple to incorporate by mixing it with wheat flour, it is possible to imagine a large number of sweet recipes to take advantage of the nutritional contributions and the peanut-like taste of crickets, crickets and grasshoppers.
Here are a few ideas for discovering edible insect cooking or perfecting your edible insect cooking skills: add crickets to your pancake batter, chop crickets to make waffles, or serve bananas flambéed in rum with a few roasted grasshoppers.
If chocolate is your best friend, simply dip large insects in chocolate that has been melted in a double boiler, and then let them harden in the refrigerator or at room temperature in winter. You’ll be amazed at the result you’ll get, a recipe that is both crisp and delicious!
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