The Joy of Cooking … Bugs

Controlling unwanted pests in the garden is an unappetizing job.

By Richard Hefley

There are few environmentally safer or effective—albeit labor-intensive—methods of pest control than the physical removal of the perpetrator. Pick your bug and drop it into a jar of soapy water. This will effectively end their days of ravaging your vegetables. As an added benefit you will have a protein rich slurry of nutritious stew to pour onto the compost pile.

Then there’s the “culinary” alternative. Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart may blanch, but adventurous cooks have been preparing buggy dishes for centuries.

Naturalist, author and bug chef David George Gordon has long lectured and written about this vast family of creepy-crawlies. Often worshipped by ancient civilizations, these creatures we consider pests, he contends, are in many ways still vital to the environment and critical to our well-being.

Among his 19 published books, David has authored the Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, promising “33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes and their kin.”

Gordon is also author of The Compleat Cockroach and The Secret World of Slugs and Snails (Life in the Very Slow Lane), and has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine, and on “Nightline” and “The View,” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook is a cornucopia of critter concoctions from the chocolate-covered delight of Ants in Pants to Three Bee Salad, and one I have promised to sample, Sheesh! Kabobs, which feature a dozen marinated Katydids or other locust-like insects, skewered and roasted with onions and red peppers.

I look forward to trying the nutritious Fried Green Tomato Hornworms. Lightly grilled and spiced, plump hornworms are chock full of recently consumed tomato leaves rich in chlorophyll and nutrients, and are served atop a freshly cut slice of fried green tomato, and garnished with a basil leaf.

Bug appétit!

Sheesh Kabobs

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon minced fresh herbs-parsley, mint, thyme and/or tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
12 frozen katydids, locusts or other suitably sized Orthoptera, thawed
1 red pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 small yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges

Additional olive oil as needed

Mix first 8 ingredients for the marinade in a non-reactive baking dish. Add the Orthoptera, cover and marinate overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the insects from the marinade. Pat them dry, for ease of handling. Assemble each kabob, alternately skewering the insects, tomatoes and onion wedges to create a visually interesting line-up.

Brush the grill lightly with olive oil. Cook the kabobs two or three inches above the fire, turning them every 2 or 3 minutes, and basting them with additional olive oil as required. The exact cooking time will vary, depending on the kind of grill and types of insects used; however, the kabobs should cook for no longer than 8 or 9 minutes.

Prep: 10 min. Grill: 9 min. Yield: 6 servings

Recipe used by permission of David George Gordon. For more recipes and info on creepy-crawlies, see davidgeorgegordon.com.

<< Read the full article, “One Buggy Problem”