Your New Favorite Vermin Recipes

Staff Writer
‘The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook’ inspires home cooks to step out of their culinary comfort zones
Chugrad McAndrews

If you're looking to spice up things in the kitchen, look no farther than the critter crawling across the counter.

There’s a spider on the wall. Some (let’s be real: many) will scurry away in terror. Others will cringe, smush it, and throw it away. And others still will… eat it? 

David George Gordon, author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, says absolutely — especially if it’s dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried. At The Daily Meal, we’re all about adventurous, creative cooking, but this is new territory even for us.

The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook, published by Ten Speed Press, offers “40 ways to cook crickets, grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes, and their kin.” According to the Entomological Society of America, there are almost 10 quintillion (that’s 19 zeros) in the world, and Gordon’s revised recipe collection definitely speaks to such diversity.

Let's say you're craving grasshoppers. What to do? Well, you could skewer and grill them for an extra crunchy kabob. You could dip them in Kahlúa-spiked chocolate fondue. Or, you could stir them into the Southern classic, Hoppin' John, for some playful culinary worldplay; Gordon calls it, "Really Hoppin' John." 

Eat-a-Bug’s author doesn’t take his readers for granted. At the start of the book, he makes a convincing case for why insects should be given a chance in the kitchen, offering up fifteen years’ worth of personal data on bugs’ nutritional value. To return to grasshoppers: 100 grams of small ones packs 20.6 grams of protein.

Plus, as Gordon points out, “Bug eating is good for the planet, too.” Two-thirds of all living species are insects. So if you’re looking to decrease your meat consumption but aren’t interested in going all out vegetarian or vegan, maybe “insectian” is the next trend. That chocolate-dipped grasshopper does look pretty good.

Deep-Fried Tarantula

And you thought frying pickles was inventive. Throw a few of these on a platter and you have a finger-food-friendly hors d’oeuvre and a guaranteed icebreaker all in one for your next cocktail party. (Just make sure no one with arachnophobia is invited). Tarantula’s outer layer of chitin — sort of like a soft shell crab’s shell — is supple and ideal for frying. The legs will be crunchy on the outside and delightfully chewy on the inside — and unlike a crab’s claws, there are eight of them to enjoy.

Click here to see the Deep-Fried Tarantula Recipe

Fried Green Tomato Hornworms

Admit it: This dish is beautiful. So if this is the new way to ‘eat your greens,’ count us in. Cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes, quickly sautéed hornworms, and fresh, bright green basil combine to showcase how striking a monochromatic plate can be. And the pairings don’t stop there. The recipe calls for tomato hornworms, which feed on tomato leaves, and are full of fantastic flavor.

Click here to see the Fried Green Tomato Hornworms Recipe

White Chocolate and Wax Worm Cookies

Because, at this point, old school Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies are practically cliché. Gordon boasts, “these are likely the best bug cookies you’ll ever eat,” and we’re guessing few people have much to compare them by. When they bake up, wax worms taste like nutty, toasted pistachios: a natural match for sweet white chocolate.

Click here to see the White Chocolate and Wax Worm Cookies Recipe

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