Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce


Crickets & Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

I asked my friends if they would like to sample some edible insects as a snack…and all I heard was…crickets.

For most of them, it turns out that eating intact insects was intimidating. Go figure. But add in the effects of an alcoholic beverage or two, inhibitions disappear and these same friends become amenable to giving my bug-centric snacks a try.

In Korean, there is a word for food meant to be consumed with alcohol – Anju. In English, there is a word for consuming insects – Entomophagy. Here I present an Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking. Let’s get the party started with some cold beers.

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

Feeling loosened up and ready to indulge in the first anju, my friends gave rave reviews to Crickets & Kkwarigochu. The recipe was inspired by the popular Korean banchan (side dish) myulchi bokkeum (stir-fried anchovy) and it is positively addicting.

Salted stir-fried crickets are coated with a sweet, sticky, garlicky sauce. Kkwarigochu (aka shishito peppers in Japanese) are blistered in a hot wok with a bit of oil. Kkwarigochu are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. But beware, every once in a while, there’s a hot one in the bunch! Paired with cold refreshing Hite beer, this entomophagic anju was a big hit!

The crickets (aka house crickets, Acheta domestica) have been raised in California for human consumption on a diet of apples and bananas. They are then cooked and dried to produce a crispy, crunchy snack or ingredient with a wheat-y flavor. The entire cricket is edible & no other ingredients are added. (From Marx Foods here).

Crickets & Kkwarigochu Recipe

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Vote for Fish Taco!

midnight sun halibut & crab tacos

crispy rice paper wrapped alaskan halibut with leek and dijon mustard
king crab/ meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise
grilled meyer lemon wheel/ shaved fennel/ fresh dill


Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger read through hundreds of Alaska fish taco recipes;
some good, some interesting, and some that made them go, huh?
The winner has been crowned, from Great Falls, Montana – Edwina Gadsby’s
Black Thai Grilled Alaska Cod Tacos with Green Papaya Slaw and Sambal Crema.
Sounds great!

Now it’s time for the People’s Choice Award.
Take a look at the 20 top contenders and cast a vote for the top taco.
My Midnight Sun Taco is unique and mighty delicious,
so please, take a taste with the eyes, and cast a vote here.
And if you are looking for inspiration to jazz up your own fish tacos,
head up to Alaska and check out the 19 other fantastic recipes!

The Midnight Sun Taco is one of 20 finalists, please scroll down,
it is the last one on the voting page. Voting open through March 15, 2011.

Original recipe posted here.

Muchas Gracias!

seafood taco contest

midnight sun halibut & crab tacos

crispy rice paper wrapped alaskan halibut with leek and dijon mustard
king crab/ meyer lemon garlic mayonnaise
grilled meyer lemon wheel/ shaved fennel/ fresh dill

Lori Lynn & Pooch “Mrs. Cooper”
Homer, Alaska 1993

Alaska Seafood is holding The 1st Ever Wild Alaska Fish Taco Recipe Contest. And since I am a fan of (1) Alaska, (2) the hosts, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, (3) fish tacos, (4) recipe contests, (5) sustainable fishing practices, and last but not least (6) food trucks – this challenge had my name all over it!

Living in Southern California we periodically venture south of the border, so we’ve been enjoying Baja fish tacos for decades. My original Wild Alaska Fish Taco, however, was to be quite different from its southern cousin. When creating the recipe, my first decision was to determine what ingredients NOT to use:

  • no cabbage
  • no cilantro
  • no white onion
  • no lime
  • no salsa
  • no avocado

The second decision was to choose which Alaska seafood to include – salmon, crab, cod, pollack, halibut, sole, black cod, spot prawns, weathervane scallops, or rockfish? I chose the mighty halibut from the halibut fishing capital of the world and the king of all shellfish – king crab.

The next step was to create a flavor profile with ingredients that complement the halibut and crabmeat:

halibut + dill + leek + dijon + fennel + meyer lemon + king crab + mayonnaise + garlic

The last step was to decide how to incorporate all these fabulous flavors and textures in one glorious tortilla while still being recognizable as distant relative of the famous Baja fish taco. To get a light crispy crust the halibut is wrapped in rice paper then fried. The rice paper wrapper also marries the leek and dijon to the piece of fish. This hot crispy “fish stick” contrasts with the cool sweet crabmeat, the fresh crunchy fennel, and the smokey citrus notes from the grilled meyer lemon. The rich garlicky lemon mayonnaise and bright fresh dill are the finishing touches. Just slice, mix, grill, sauté, and assemble – no special technique required to create the one-of-a-kind halibut & crab taco, a tribute to the land of the midnight sun!

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Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Veal, Portobello, Fried Sage

Grilled Portobello Mushroom
Sautéed Veal Medallion
Wild Mushroom Agnolotti
Pinot Noir Veal Stock Reduction
with Crème Fraîche & Fried Sage

Thank you to the folks at Foodbuzz and Buitoni for the sample of the new Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. We had a great time cooking up a unique presentation for this delicious pasta!

Portobellos are seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper then grilled until tender.

Veal medallions, cut into the same size as the portobellos, are seasoned with salt and pepper, dusted with flour and sautéed until golden brown over medium heat in a mixture of half olive oil half butter. Squeeze 1 T. fresh lemon juice over the veal then remove from the pan. Keep warm.

Add 1/4 c. minced shallots and 1/2 t. thyme to that same pan and sauté briefly. Add 1 c. Pinot Noir, raise the heat to high, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of pan.

Continue cooking over high heat until the wine is reduced to about a quarter cup.

Add 1 c. veal stock to the pan and reduce again.

Meanwhile, cook the agnolotti according to the instructions on the package in boiling water with  1 T. olive oil.

When the veal stock has reduced by half, whisk 3 T. crème fraîche into the sauce. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Sauté a handful of fresh sage leaves in 1 T. butter, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove sage leaves to a paper towel.

To assemble: Place the warm portobello in the center of the plate, top with a fried sage leaf then a medallion of veal. Take 3 wild mushroom agnolotti and surround the mushroom cap. Sparingly ladle warm Pinot Noir Cream Sauce over the pasta and veal. Crumble fried sage leaves by hand and sprinkle over dish. Garnish with a whole sage leaf.

Why we loved this: Different textures and flavors that complemented each other well. The sauce was a high-note accent to the dish, adding flavor, color, and elegance. The fried sage melts in the mouth and tastes like savory candy.

Alternative plating idea: We served the sage leaves whole and add crumbled blue cheese.

We are excited to enter this dish in the Buitoni recipe contest. Come join in the fun, the contest is open until April 30th. Go to Foodbuzz and click on Flavor-of -the Month for details. The prize is an All-Clad Copper Core Cookware set.

And I want to thank my brother Bill. You should all be so lucky as to have Bill helping in the kitchen. I think from his military training and years as a Captain, he takes orders like a professional sous chef, pays attention to every detail. Although he does not answer me with “Yes, Chef” he will not leave my home until every dish is washed and the entire kitchen is spotless. And he gave me a good chuckle when said he would be happy to take that All-Clad Copper Core Cookware for his new home in the Florida Keys. Such a nice supportive brother! Anybody in that area that can cook for him? He likes everything but peanut butter.