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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Eat-A-Bug Cookbook Recipes

Published: February 6, 2018

By David George Gordon

The Pear Salad with Chiangbai Ants is a prime an example of how Gordon chooses to feature bugs in his food, rather than hide them (Photo: Chugrad McAndrews).

(stream/download) as an MP3 file

Not only should we consider eating insects for environmental reasons; they can also be tasty. David George Gordon has just released an updated version of his Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, brimming with recipes that feature crickets, grasshoppers, ants, spiders, centipedes, and their kin. Here are a few choice recipes.

Deep-Fried Tarantula Spider

Yield: 4 servings

2 cups canola or vegetable oil
2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed
1 cup tempura batter (page 84)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to 350°F.
2. With a sharp knife, sever and discard the abdomens from the two tarantulas. Singe off any of the spider’s body hairs with a crème brûlée torch or butane cigarette lighter.
3. Dip each spider into the tempura batter to thoroughly coat. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to make sure each spider is spread-eagled (so to speak) and not clumped together before dropping it into the hot oil.
4. Deep-fry the spiders, one at a time, until the batter is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove each spider from the oil and place it on paper towels to drain.
5. Use a sharp knife to cut each spider in two lengthwise. Sprinkle with the paprika and serve. Encourage your guests to try the legs first and, if still hungry, to nibble on the meat-filled mesothorax, avoiding the spider’s paired fangs, which are tucked away in the head region.

Pear Salad with Chiangbai Ants

Yield: 4 servings

3 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
2 crisp pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup shaved Asiago or Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons dried Changbai ants

1. On four salad plates, arrange the spinach, adding a layer of pear slices to the heap.
2. Sprinkle the bell pepper and shallots over the pears. Splash each salad with about 
1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
3. Add the shaved cheese to the salads and sprinkle the ants over the cheese.
4. Feeling antsy? Your salads are now ready to be served.


Yield: 8 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
32 tomato hornworms
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into
sixteen 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
White cornmeal
16 to 20 small basil leaves

1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hornworms and fry lightly for about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Season the tomato rounds with salt and pepper to taste, then coat with cornmeal on both sides.
3. In another large skillet or wok, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides.
4. Top each tomato round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.
5. Garnish with basil leaves and serve

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