Jiminy cricket! Unusual hors d'oeuvres

Posted: August 14, 2008

Feeling adventurous? Here are a few of Zack Lemann's favorite creepy-crawly dishes.

ODONATE

HORS D'OEUVRES

10-20 dragonflies, thawed from the freezer

1 egg

1 small bowl of seasoned fish fry

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon soy sauce

10-20 thinly sliced Portobello mushrooms (1 per

dragonfly)

Olive oil

Canola oil

Pour 1/2 inch of canola oil in a medium skillet, heat on medium.

In a separate, small skillet, heat butter, Dijon mustard and soy sauce together at a low heat, then set aside in a small bowl. In that same skillet, add a small bit of olive oil and set the heat on low.

While the oils heat, run dragonflies through the egg, which already should be whipped in a bowl. (Use tweezers to hold the dragonflies.) Dredge the dragonflies in seasoned fish fry.

You can now simultaneously cook the mushrooms in the smaller skillet with olive oil and the dragonflies in the medium skillet with canola oil. Cook insects for 30 seconds per side, adjusting the heat if needed so as to avoid charred batter or undercooked batter.

Place a dragonfly atop each mushroom slice and dollop a small drop of Dijon-soy butter on each insect. Serves 10 appetizer portions.

CRISPY CAJUN CRICKETS

400 5-week-old house crickets, frozen

Butter

Tony Chachere's

(or other Creole/Cajun seasoning blend)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using one handful at a time, take crickets from the freezer and roll them in your hands over a colander with slats, not holes. The goal is to remove antennas and legs (not because they taste bad, but because they can make a mess). With each set of "prepped" crickets, set them aside in a refrigerator until all 400 are done.

On a metal baking sheet, spread out the crickets and cook them for about 20-25 minutes. Consistency when done should be firm, not soft, with the body slightly indented from the heat. Remove crickets from baking sheet.

In a medium skillet, heat about 4 pats of butter, add the crickets and sprinkle to taste with Tony Chachere's.

F-ANT-ASTIC CRACKERS

2 dozen leafcutter ant queens

2 dozen toasted crackers (small squares)

Very thinly sliced raw cucumber (6 slices or so)

Cream cheese

Leafcutter queens can be ordered online. They are relatively expensive, but they come roasted and lightly seasoned, and you'll definitely be the only one on your block serving them!

Cut each thin cucumber slice into 4 triangles. Atop each cracker, place a piece of cucumber, then a tiny bit of cream cheese, and then a queen ant. The colors look great together (rather elegant, really), and it tastes terrific, too! *

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