Save the world! Eat more bugs!
First off, let me say that I (obviously) like meat. Some my favorite meals (orange-glazed roasted duck, Thanksgiving turkey, go-to fried chicken to seal the deal come date night) have involved animals I slaughtered and then cooked myself.
But meat can’t be an every day, and arguably not even every week, type of thing. It just takes too many resources, and we’ve got a big planet growing seemingly smaller with a whole mess of people to support and a climate in crisis. The numbers on meat don’t make sense. Part of it has to do with how we farm most of the meat raised in the U.S., part of it has to do with how much meat the average American consumes per day, and part of it has to do with the energy that’s lost between trophic levels.
Bugs, on the other hand, make a lot of sense. Crickets use little water, love being kept confined in dark, close quarters, and when you put them in the freezer they just fall asleep and don’t wake up. You don’t need to inoculate crickets with antibiotics and hormones that pollute the environment, and they have an awesome amount of iron. An ounce of crickets has more than twice as much protein as an ounce of beef.
So while it’s unlikely I’ll give up blood cupcakes and chicken enchiladas, I’m a big fan of crickets.
With all that being said, let’s get going with some bug burgers!
Here’s what you’ll need:
-one can of garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
-one cup crickets (I choose not to rinse mine, since it washes off a little of the flavor)
-two tablespoons toasted sesame oil (plus a little extra for frying)
-one teaspoon paprika
-half a teaspoon salt
-half a carrot, grated very fine
-half a cup of diced onion
-half of a peach, diced
-juice of two limes
-quater cup chopped cilantro
-half of a, to one full, habanero pepper (I was feeling frisky, not risky, so I went with 3/4 of a habanero)
-one third of a cup four
-one tablespoon corn starch
First, mash the garbanzo beans with a fork. Add in the sesame oil, salt, and paprika.
Combine carrot, onion, peach, lime juice, cilantro, and habanero. Give it a good stir and a couple solid taste tests. This isn’t cookie batter, it’s cookie batter’s smokin’ hot, spankin’ good savory cousin, the one you kept hoping would notice you when you were a teenager, but probably never did. Go ahead and dig deep. When you’re done indulging yourself, add the flour and corn starch and mix it up really well, since this is your last chance.
Finally, add those bugs, the true star of the show (don’t tell Peach). Try not to mangle the crickets too much when you mix them in; a few gentle folds will be enough. Also, curb your desire to take another bite of the mixture until the burgers are fully cooked: raw bugs are raw meat, and should be treated as such.
Form the mixture into patties, pop some buns under the broiler if that’s your style, and fry the burgers on medium-low heat in sesame oil.
As your kitchen slowly begins to smell more and more like heaven, thank yourself for taking a small, itty bitty step toward saving the world. Don’t let ’em stick and be careful on the flip. Don’t turn them prematurely: they will fall apart! Drink some water to keep your hands busy if you have to. Cook throughly.
I threw a cricket pattie on a toasted bun slathered with vegan mayo and ketchup, and stacked with lettuce and sliced tomato, and it made my day.
But feel free to do whatever you want with these things–you’ve got total creative freedom. Micro greens and a tortilla? Hell yeah. Cheese and bread? Go for it. Mashed in a bowl with popcorn and chips? Whatever, bro, I won’t slow your roll. Slices of peaches wrapped in iceberg lettuce? Summertime sweetness.
No matter what, you’ll be like a Depeche Mode song.
Happy eating, everyone!!