Cicada season is upon us, my friends — and according to some reports, this particular one will bring billions of cicadas, particularly in the northeastern US. But while the masses are cowering indoors to avoid the humming deluge, there are a few brave among us wondering how to eat cicadas. Now, before you accuse the curious of being savage for having such a thought, consider this: two billion people eat bugs regularly worldwide. They're a surprisingly good source of protein, they're ridiculously cheap, and they're way more environmentally-conscious than eating traditional animal meats. In fact, a lot of scientists are certain looking at nutrition forecasts that insects are the future of food.
Now that we've gotten all that #science out of the way, I have to admit that my personal experience with cicada consumption is limited to the summer I ate one in middle school on a dare. Like many punk kids in the DC/Maryland/Virginia during the Cicadapocalypse of 2004, the year that a whole bunch of broods of cicadas mated and blanketed the streets with them, I may have thrown caution to the wind and consumed one raw. While I'm not going to recommend it (I mean, I did feel like a 12-year-old badass, even if it was questionable), I did do us all the service of researching actual ways you can eat cicadas, cuz I'm a grown-ass woman now who cooks her insects. Stop wasting your time grocery shopping this summer, y'all! Lunch is on the sidewalk.
First Step: Blanche Your Cicadas
Before you cook with your cicadas, you'll want to boil them the way you would a lobster. It takes about five minutes to leech out the ickiness from the soil they've been living in. After that you'll dump them into an ice water bath and pick out the legs and wings. (Note: You don't necessarily have to pick out the legs and wings. They're totally edible, but texture-wise it might be upsetting to someone who hasn't tried bugs before. Follow your cicada consuming bliss.)
Once you do that, here are a few of your cicada cooking options!
Cook Them In A Cicada Scampi
These cicada cooking pioneers sautéed their cicadas with butter, garlic, and basil, a relatively simple way to smash societal insect-eating norms.
Marinate Them In Worcestershire Sauce
This one takes a little more prep, because the marination is an overnight process. It'll be worth the extra flavor kick!
Cover Them In Chocolate
What would a cicada eating palooza be if you didn't save room for dessert?
If you're wondering what to expect from your freshly cooked cicadas, a lot of people say that they have a "nutty, earthy" taste when cooked, and that they cook in a similar fashion to shrimp. So don't be afraid to mix things up this summer — if eating bugs really is the future, then you, my friend, can be a pioneer.