Bugs still are considered a luxury ingredient in the U.S. But more people should be thinking about bugs as a sustainable food source, says Wendy Lu McGill of Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, a Colorado-based edible insect farm. “They’re high in protein, a better way to utilize land, and they’re delicious,” she says. Whereas about 200 square meters of arable land is required for meat production, crickets need just 15 square meters. To drive home her point about the desirability of bugs as a food source, McGill hosted a Slow Food Nations critter-cooking workshop. Mealworms replaced croutons atop a salad of greens dressed with olive oil, while crickets were the star ingredient for a Congolese-Style Cricket and Rice Bowl.
CONGOLESE-STYLE CRICKET AND RICE BOWL
- Small bowl of slow-roasted whole crickets
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
- ½ cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup of mixed lettuce
Frozen, whole mealworms and crickets are best for cooking. Be sure to wash them in a strainer until water is clear. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil. Preheat oven to 325°. Add crickets and mealworms to baking sheet. Bake mealworms for 15-20 minutes, and crickets for 1 hour. They should be pliable, and crispy—or well done, but not overdone. Cook rice according to instructions.
Preheat olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add garlic. Stir until sizzling, about 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper and crushed tomatoes. Cook another 8-10 minutes. Add crickets. Mix, and incorporate into a bowl with rice. Serve with a side of mealworm salad.