With rising food costs and the resurgence of farm to table cooking why not think about sidewalk to table cooking? Cicadas are a delicacy you only get every 17 years. Plus, it’s not like they’re in short supply; nearly 30 billion cicadas will swarm the east coast, outnumbering humans 600-1.
And their main reason for popping up this year? To get laid. Once the ground temperature reaches exactly 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the males will hole up in trees, screeching their mating call around 94 decibels. After a few weeks of raucous booty-calling, the offspring will head underground, starting the cycle over again.
Don’t be afraid to cockblock a handful of the protein-stocked insects for your evening’s meal. Apparently, they’re pretty tasty. We are told they have a pleasant nutty flavor except for the wings. The wings are gross. So, scoop up a basketful of cicadas on your way home from the market, and prepare them in one of the following fashions:
1.) FRY DEM SUCKAS
30 – 40 cicadas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon milk
oil (for frying)
1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Find the Adult Cicada they are the ones with red eyes and clear colored wings. You can either find them by following their beautiful screeching sound or just locate any tree.
3. Leave them as is no need to tear off wings or legs they add to the crispyness.
4. Mix together flour and seasonings.
5. Mix together milk and egg.
6. First dip cicada into egg then into flour mixture. Then drop into oil. Don’t worry – they won’t try to fly away, they are too dumb for that.
7. Fry them for no longer the 2 minutes.
8. Transfer to paper towels. Then serve immediately.
9. I like a little hot pepper on mine but you can also use ketchup for the kids.
2.) ¡ÁNDELE!-UP SOME BUGS
How about some Mexican courtesy of Jenna Jadin and the University of Maryland Cicadamaniacs? We thought so.
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
Shredded Cheddar cheese
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, and 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
3.) GET CRUNCHY, HIPPY
Bored of garden-variety breakfast bars? Turn the garden into a breakfast bar with Carrie Brown’s recipe a lá the University of Cincinnati Clermont College.
Cicada Granola Chews
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups Kroger Granola Cereal with Raisins
1. Freeze cicadas and break off legs and wings, etc.
2. Boil for 5 min. then bake at 550 F for 10min.
3. Take cicadas out and cut up very finely.
4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
5. In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda
6. Stir in remaining ingredients except cereal; until smooth.
7. Stir in half of the cereal.
8. Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in remaining cereal.
9. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
10. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.
4.) PICK UP SOME CHOPSTICKS
Another recipe from the Cicadamaniacs (See the full cicada cookbook here) if you are in the mood for an Asian flavor.
20 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked and destemmed
6 egg whites
4 oz cicadas, wings removed and pre-boiled for 5 minutes
1/2 oz cooked Chinese ham, cut into 1″-long, 1/16″-thick strips 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp MSG (optional)
2 cups chicken broth
1. Mince 2 oz cicadas and 1 oz fat pork separately, then mix in bowl. Add 1/8 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp MSG. Stir until firm. Divide into 10 portions for mushroom stuffing.
2. Squeeze excess water from mushrooms. Put in bowl, add a little broth and steam for 30 minutes. Remove and squeeze out excess liquid. Place in dish, stem sides up, and sprinkle with cornstarch. Place one portion cicada stuffing in middle of a mushroom and cover with another mushroom, black side up, to make a stuffed mushroom pouch. Repeat until 10 pouches are done.
3. Mince remaining pork and cicadas separately, then mix in a bowl. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp MSG. Stir until firm. Make 20 balls in the shape of a cicada. Beat egg whites. Grease pan. Make a thin small round pancake with one tbsp egg white. Place a cicada ball in the middle and wrap pancake around. Pinch ball to form head and body of the cicada. Fry for 1/2 minute and remove. Put two strips ham in head. Repeat until 20 “cicadas” are made. Put mushroom pouches and shrimp cicadas on plate. Steam for one minute over high heat. Remove and place separately in fureen. Bring stock to boil and add remaining salt. Pour stock slowly into fureen and serve.
5.) COVER THAT ISH IN SUGAR
Lastly, how about a simple cicada based dessert because anything covered in chocolate is delicious, right?
Chocolate Covered Cicadas
4 oz of dark chocolate
30 dry roasted cicadas*
1. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler over low heat.
2. Dip insects in chocolate, place on wax paper let the chocolate harden.
3. Sprinkle with coarse-ground sea salt.
*To dry roast cicadas, roast young cicadas in the oven for 15 minutes at 225F.
Please let us know in the comments if you try any of these.
(Thumbnail image by Peter Shanks)