The Cicadas Are Coming ...Hungry?
Bruce Marlin, Wikimedia Commons
A 17-year periodic cicada, Magicicada sp. brood XIII, in 2007, photographed at Lisle, Illinois.
B. Borrell Casals/Frank Lane Picture Agency/Corbis
If you want to do your part to devour America's invasive species problem, these recipes will get you started.
First, a simple recipe for nutria from Dave Linkhart of the National Trappers Association.
"I take the hindquarters of a nutria and put it in a crock pot with one large onion and cajun seasoning. You can put anything else you want, carrots, potatoes, whatever. After 3 hours in the crock pot the meat falls right off the bone."
Although some pythons in the Everglades may be high in mercury, if you find an uncontaminated one you can snack on the snakes.
Asian Style Python Steaks:
-1 kg of Python Steaks
-4-5 peeled and sliced Shallots
-1 tablespoon Turmeric powder
-5-7 cloves, peeled and pounded garlic cloves
-2-3 inches long, peeled and pounded ginger
-10 stems Lemon grass (peeled; tender parts finely chopped and pounded)
-2 tablespoons paprika
-2 tablespoons white rice wine Salt
-2 tablespoons Peanut oil
-2 quarts spring water
First boil and poach the steaks with lemon peel, lemon grass stems, and skins of shallots, garlic and ginger in the quart of spring water. When the flesh is soft, take the Python steaks out and let cool. Next, saute’ shallots on low heat until lightly brown and add the ginger, garlic and all other spices. Next turn up the heat until the toasted aroma arise from the pot. Add flaked Python, rice wine, and more spring water and reduce heat for 10 minutes.
Recipe from: wildlifetrapper.com
Lionfish took over the Caribbean, but now people are taking to lionfish. There are whole books dedicated to lionfish recipes.
Simple Steamed Lionfish:
Coat aluminum foil wrap in olive oil then insert lionfish, along with onion, tomato slices, bell pepper, carrot, pineapple, squash, zucchini, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and thyme. Place over a fire for 6 to 10 minutes. Serve with brown rice and a slice of fresh mango on the side.
Recipe from: lionfishhunter.com
EPA, Wikimedia Commons
Eat a Vampire
Sea lampreys decimated the fish population of the Great Lakes. The blood-sucking lampreys drained the fish until they died or were susceptible to diseases introduced through the gaping wound the lamprey left behind. But in medieval Europe, the lampreys were a prized delicacy.
-1 live 2 kg lamprey
-1 deciliter oil
-100 g butter
-1 bottle red Bordeaux wine
-1 small glass Armagnac
-4 garlic cloves
-600 g Bayonne ham
-2 tablespoons flour
-1 glass broth
-1 bouquet garni
-6 slices country-style bread salt
Bleed the lamprey by hanging it by the head and cutting the tail over and container to collect the blood. When there's no blood dripping anymore, dip the lamprey in boiling water for 1 minute.
Take it out and peel it. Cut in 4 cm-thick slices. Put the slices in the container of blood.
Cut the white part of the leeks into 7-8 cm-long whistles and put them in butter.
Add the diced ham, the shallots and onions. Sprinkle with flour and with the wine and broth. Add the cloves and bouquet garni. Add pepper, salt a little. Add two crushed garlic cloves. Bring to a boiling point, then cook for 45 minutes over low heat.
45 minutes later, add the pieces of lamprey in the sauce, cover and cook again for 45 minutes.
Remove the slices of fish, and them in another pan or skillet with Armagnac.
Pour the equivalent of a glass of warm sauce over the blood in order to dilute it, and poor in the skillet. Stir well. Put back the lamprey, season and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Beat the sauce with butter.
Meanwhile, toast the bread and rub it with the remaining garlic.Put the lamprey in a shallow dish, on the slices of bread.
Put the leeks all around with the sauce.
Recipe from: meilleurduchef.com
NASA, Wikimedia Commons
Pig Out on Feral Hogs
If you are sure the wild pig you have is disease free, then pig out with this German-style recipe.
Braised Wild Boar in Sauerkraut:
-2 (20 ounce) cans sauerkraut, drained
-3 pounds wild boar roast
-1 large onion, quartered
-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
-4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
-1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Pour one can of sauerkraut into the bottom of a Dutch oven. Set the roast on top of it, then arrange the onions potatoes and carrots around the roast. Cover with the remaining can of sauerkraut and pour in the beer. Cover with a lid.
Bake in the preheated oven until the roast is extremely tender, about 3 hours.
Recipe from allrecipes.com
Tasty Tiger Prawns
Another species invading Louisiana's waters is the tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon.
Grilled Lemon and Garlic Tiger Prawns:
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lemon, juiced
-1 orange, juiced
-1 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
-2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
-30 tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
In a glass dish, mix together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, basil and white wine. Add the prawns, and stir to coat. Cover, and let marinate for 1 hour.
Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.
Thread prawns onto skewers. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until pink.
Recipe from allrecipes.com
The waterways of America are being taken over by a variety of carp species, most notoriously the jumping silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix). With the right recipe, the fish will jump out of the water onto your plate and right into your stomach.
-4 silver carp fish steaks
-2 tablespoon of olive oil
-2 ounces of unsalted butter
-3 oz of white wine
-1 tablespoon of lemon juice
-½ cup of roasted almonds
-Seasoning to taste
In a skillet, preheat olive oil and butter until very hot
Place seasoned carp steaks and brown both sides
Add white wine and lemon juice
Place carp steaks with sauce into a baking pan
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until done
When served, top carp steaks with sauce then top with roasted almonds.
Recipe from: chefphillipe.com
The shrill screech of cicadas is a dinner bell to people who engage in entomophagy, or the eating of insects.
Soon, these bug-biters will feast on a swarming smorgasbord that will encrust trees on the East Coast of the United States from Connecticut to Virginia. A group of cicadas, known as Brood II, will emerge from their 17-year slumber once soil temperatures reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) this spring.
For those who wish to seek revenge on insects for years of mosquito bites and bee stings, the upcoming cicada swarm may be an opportunity to enter the world of entomophagy. Here's how:
The Most Scrumptious Cicadas
The bug hunt begins when the young cicadas, known as nymphs, burrow up from underground.
“The best time to collect cicadas is during the evening hours when the nymphs are climbing tree trunks,” entomologist Steve Murphree of Belmont University told Discovery News.
Young cicada nymphs are the most delicious, according to David Gracer, owner of SmallStock Food Strategies, a supplier of insect-based foods. Immediately after emergence, the cicadas' shells haven't hardened. The pale greenish-white insects are as soft as crab meat and have a taste similar to asparagus, he said.
Female cicadas make the most nutritious meal because they are loaded with eggs. To find protein-packed females search for cicadas with pointier abdomens, said Murphree. The pointed abdomen is caused by the female's ovipositor, the organ they use to lay eggs.
Find an Insect Eatery
To find the best hunting ground for emerging cicadas, Gracer recommends following your ears to where the insect orchestra plays loudest. That can be a good sign of that even more cicada snacks.
Another way to find a rich cicada source is to look for groups of birds feasting on the bug bounty, according to Daniella Martin. Martin writes about her insectivorous adventures on the Girl Meets Bug blog and is currently working on a book about her entomophagy experiences around the world. She also hosts an entomophagy cooking show on YouTube.
Don't Bite Bad Bugs
However, birds don't know everything about a bug's background, Martin warned.
“Birds don't know if the grubs are emerging from ground that has been sprayed with herbicides, fertilizers or other chemicals,” Martin said. “Whatever is in the ground could have been absorbed by the cicadas... It's safer to go to the woods, unless you know a lawn is organic.”
Gracer recommends that cicada seekers avoid the sides of roadways, golf courses, cemeteries and other places that have been sprayed with chemicals.
“If you have some concerns about an area, there is always somewhere else,” Martin said.
Bring 'Em Back Alive
Aspiring cicada hunters don't need to invest much to go on a successful hunt.
A children's bug net from the toy store helps hone hand-catching skills, said Martin. Then, a place to store the quarry is needed.
“An empty plastic soda bottle makes an awesome cicada container,” Martin said. “The small neck makes it easy to open the bottle and drop in a new catch without all the rest of the captives escaping.”
The bottle goes in the freezer until the insects have become cicada-cicles. Later, the hunter can cut the top off of the bottle and dump out the insects.
Only cicadas that survive the trip home should be eaten, warned Martin. Think of the insects as tiny shrimp: the fresher, the better.
After a successful cicada search, the budding entomophagy enthusiast needs to cook up the catch into arthropod appetizers and many-legged main dishes.
Murphree recommends a cookbook put together by the University of Maryland Cicadamaniacs. The cookbook has recipes for everything from “cica-delicious pizza” to cicada stir-fry. There's even banana cicada bread for desert.
If only discarded shells show up, the empty husks can be used in a traditional Chinese medicinal tea, according to Gracer.
However, people with shellfish allergies should not indulge in insects, since bugs also can trigger a dangerous reaction.