We often tend to consider insects the taste of the twenty-first century, the last frontier of sustainable food or simply a fascinating diversion for our diets. Yet, beyond innovation and ethicality of choice, there is a third variation on the culinary use of insects: gourmet cuisine.
There are already dozens of examples in the world where beetles, crickets and larvae play starring roles in the gastronomic creations of world famous chefs.
How can you resist the allure of a star-studded tasting menu featuring à la carte Grilled Worm Meal with pumpkin, hazelnut and peanut flavored polenta or Pastafrolla with crickets and buckwheat flour? Don't ask us, because we're about to take you by the hand and lead you through the best in starred insect menus. And by the end of this journey, we promise you there will be a surprise!
It is no mystery that in Asian cultures insects have always been considered a tasty source of protein. It's not surprising, then, that the Thai capital is home to one of the world's temples of gourmet insects: Insects in the Backyard, run by eclectic chef Mai Thitiwat. A typical menu? Watermelon salad with herb creme fraiche, chorizo and bamboo caterpillars as an entrée; Noodles made with cricket flour and garnished with fried crickets, black basil pesto and chorizo as a main course; and, to finish, Crab and Giant Beetle Ravioli with turmeric and saffron sauce. Regarding the glittering beetle, Chef Thitiwat reports that the flavor of its meat is very similar to that of crustaceans. High level gastronomy, to be savored with the taste and with the eyes.
Punto MX is the only Mexican restaurant in Europe to be awarded a Michelin star. And it's no coincidence, because Roberto Ruiz, the mastermind behind this success, has been able to range far beyond the exquisite fundamentals of Mexican cuisine. How? By including delicious insects in his research process, of course. The result is an ambitious and certainly unique tasting menu, with the name - anything but casual - Entomophagy.
The gastronomic journey includes guacamole, marlin, pomegranate and chinicuil worms (a typical larva of agave plants, a typical Mexican product, ed.), Monkfish with tomato, avocado and flying ants and Bacon with crickets and ant pupae. A unique integration of local and international flavors to literally serve insects on a silver platter!
A country of unshakeable traditionalists anchored to gastronomic tradition: this is how we Italians are often defined. And yet, curiosity about the world of edible insects is growing and the first companies in the restaurant industry aim to serving insects as their signature dishes. In the near future, a rather... unusual sushi bar is going to pen in Rome. Ernesto Palombo, the entrepreneur at the helm of the venture, intends to open the first restaurant to serve insect sushi in Italy. Scorpions and ants could give the famous nigiri and uramaki a new hint of flavor!
Did we intrigue you? We admit, these images have sparked our culinary creativity, even though we are not star chefs. Instead of a complex tasting menu, we will just recommend a gourmet aperitif, with refined flavors and in which - needless to say - edible insects are the absolute stars of the show! And in the end, for those of you who can not give up dessert even during an aperitif, we've got you covered!
- 220 g of boiled chickpeas
- 80 g of pistachio cream
- thyme leaves to taste
- 70 ml of water
- ½ clove of garlic
- lemon juice to taste
- Extra Ordinary Fucibo Cheese Chips with Insect Powder
Method: Combine the boiled chickpeas, pistachio cream, thyme leaves, juice of half a lemon, garlic and water in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Sprinkle with crumbled Fucibo cheese chips, which will give the hummus a kick and a nice crunch.
- 400 grams of semolina flour
- 100 grams of Tenebrio Molitor 21bites Powder
- 2l of water
- 15 ml of EVO oil
- 1 knob of butter
- PDO feline salami cut into slices
- Casera cheese cut into slices
- salt to taste
Method: mix 400 grams of semolina flour and 100 grams of Tenebrio Molitor flour in a sieve, making sure to mix the two flours as well as possible. Heat up the two liters of water and pour in the flour, mixing a little at a time. The oil is needed to prevent lumps from forming. Salt to taste and once you have the desired consistency, let the polenta rest for at least 6 hours.
At the end of this phase, cut it into strips and grill them until you get a golden crust. Top it off with some Casera cheese and salami, possibly paired by a good glass of red wine.
- 500 ml of cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 lemon peel
- Dark chocolate covered crickets 21bites
Whip the egg yolks and sugar in a bain-marie: you'll get a frothy and airy mixture. Add the lemon zest and vanilla, then turn off the stove and set the mixture aside. At the same time, whip the cream and add it to the mixture. Now we add the chocolate covered crickets, pour everything into a rectangular dish lined with plastic wrap and seal it in a cylindrical shape with two rubber bands at the extremities. After a night in the freezer, cover the semifreddo with a drizzle of melted chocolate and a few more crickets, then cut the cake into slices, which will contain a delicious surprise.
After all, as you know, insects do not disappoint, whether eaten on their own or as an ingredient in an irresistible recipe!