David George Gordon, a science writer in Port Townsend, Washington, whose Eat-A-Bug Cookbook includes a recipe for cicada-topped pizza, said he is unaware of any adverse health impacts of eating cicada. Or as he put it, "Bug appetit."
The only consequence of cicada feasting that Kritsky is aware of is overindulgence, especially on the part of the family dog or favorite backyard squirrel. The animals may be enticed to gobble cicadas so quickly that the bugs could block the animals' throat.
"Just imagine how you would react if inundated with thousands of flying Hershey Kisses," Kritsky said. "You might go nuts. I'd go nuts. That's what happens to dogs or squirrels."
Eaten in moderation, most experts agree that cicadas are a good source of protein (about the same amount pound per pound as red meat) and are full of vitamins and minerals.
So, are you ready to try a cicada? Aspiring gourmands must first begin by collecting the raw ingredients. The insects are best eaten just after the nymphs break open their skin and before their exoskeleton turns black and hard, cicada aficionados say.
These newly hatched cicadas are called tenerals. Jadin said they are best collected in the early morning hours just after the insects emerge from the ground but before they crawl up a tree, where they are harder to reach.
If tenerals are unavailable, the next best menu item is adult females. Their bellies are fat and full of nutritious eggs.
Adult males, however, offer little to eat. More crunch than munch, their abdomens are hollow. (This enables the flirtatious tunes they strum on body structures known as tymbals to resonate.) With raw cicadas in hand, preparation is a matter of chef's choice. Kritsky said, "Most people like them deep fried and dipped in a sauce like a hot mustard or cocktail sauce." Other people boil or blanch them.
Jadin says cicadas take on a "nutty" flavor when roasted. She notes that many cicada recipes call for a lot of spices and sauce, which usually winds up being the dominant flavor.
Now on to the wine: red or white? The bartenders at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C., say neither. This month, patrons can order a "cicada cocktail." It's made from chilled Grey Goose orange vodka, fresh pineapple juice with a touch of Blue Curacao, shaken not stirred, and served straight up in a martini glass.
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