Bug buffet: Recipes for soup, salad and sweet treats featuring crickets

The Canadian Press

Crickets in whole and powdered form can be used in many dishes to add protein and nutrients, says Caryn Goldin.
Developing recipes using crickets and mealworms raised at Entomo Farms allows the company’s chef and culinary manager to incorporate her passion for food with her love for the environment.
Tastes evolve, she points out, noting that a few decades ago some people in this country were apprehensive about eating sushi.
Cricket powder can be added to almost any food ‚Äî soup, salad dressing, smoothies or desserts ‚Äî to bump up the protein, iron and calcium content. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Whole crickets can also be used as a garnish or to add crunch to dishes. The legs come off easily if they’re not to your taste.
Goldin recently presented an introduction to edible insects to students at Fleming College Culinary Institute in Peterborough, Ont.
“We have a clear emphasis of local foods and sustainable practices in the vision of our culinary programs, and therefore Entomo Farms fits in our values,” Steve Moghini, co-ordinator of the school’s culinary programs, wrote in an email.
For those who are starting out with entomophagy ‚Äî eating insects ‚Äî try substituting some cricket powder (flour) for all-purpose flour in recipes. It’s light and dry but slightly oily like nut flours, so it shouldn’t be used in a ratio of 1:1.
“My typical recommendation for baking is about a 10 per cent swap,” Goldin writes. “Amounts can always be increased, but this is a great amount to start with when experimenting.”
Goldin’s two children ‚Äî Abby, 10, and Zoe, 7 ‚Äî love insects, both roasted and in recipes as powder.
Here are some recipes developed by Goldin — and approved by her kids — to try:ROASTED RED TOMATO BASIL SOUP
This soup is thickened with cricket powder for additional nutrition. Serve with fresh baguette.
30 to 45 ml (2 to 3 tbsp) butter
250 ml (1 cup) chopped onion
250 ml (1 cup) diced roasted red pepper
1 can (796 ml/28 oz) crushed organic tomatoes
75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped fresh basil
10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
625 ml (2 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
30 ml (2 tbsp) cricket powder (20 g/3/4 oz)
125 ml (1/2 cup) 10 to 12 per cent cream (optional)
Fresh garlic croutons, for garnish
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper, tomatoes, basil, sugar and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together stock and cricket powder. Slowly stir into soup pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Puree in food processor or use a hand blender to puree in the pot.
Return to low heat and stir in cream, if using. Do not allow to boil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Top each serving with a crouton or two.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
CRICKET CAESAR SALAD
Add extra nutrition to classic caesar salad with cricket powder and dinner guests or picky children will be none the wiser.
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Grated (shredded) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Croutons
Dressing
30 ml (2 tbsp) mayonnaise
15 ml (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard
10 ml (2 tsp) anchovy paste
10 ml (2 tsp) Worcestershire sauce
45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh lemon juice
125 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
30 ml (2 tbsp) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
15 ml (1 tbsp) cricket powder (10 g/1/2 oz)
In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy paste, Worcestershire and lemon juice.
Slowly add in oil while still stirring or whisking.
Add garlic, cheese and cricket powder. Continue to whisk until creamy.
Toss with romaine and sprinkle with shredded cheese and croutons.
CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY CRICKET BARK
This easy-to-make treat is packed with cricket nutrition and antioxidants. The contrast of the crunch of nuts and roasted crickets with the sweet cranberries and dark chocolate is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Experiment with different nuts and goji berries for variations. You can double or triple the recipe and freeze for later.
125 ml (1/2 cup) roasted whole crickets
275 g (12 oz) semi-sweet dark chocolate or 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) chocolate chips
5 ml (1 tsp) coconut oil
75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped pecans or nuts of your choice
50 ml (1/4 cup) dried cranberries
Pinch of sea salt
Place roasted crickets in a paper bag and shake vigorously. Place bag contents in a colander and separate whole crickets from most of the legs. (Or leave the legs on if you prefer.) Set aside.
In a double boiler over low heat, melt together chocolate and coconut oil, adding chocolate in several stages to prevent burning. Alternatively, melt in microwave for about 45 seconds.
Stir in nuts, cranberries, crickets and sea salt.
Spread mixture on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate to cool. Once set, chop or break up into pieces about 5 cm (2 inches) square.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.
Makes about 15 pieces (each about 25 g/1 oz).
SOFT GINGER CRICKET COOKIES
These melt-in-your-mouth cookies are irresistible to anybody fond of ginger. There is one gram of cricket protein per cookie.
125 ml (1/2 cup) cricket powder (50 g/2 oz)
425 ml (1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
3 ml (3/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cloves
10 ml (2 tsp) ground ginger
5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
175 ml (3/4 cup) butter, softened
175 ml (3/4 cup) white sugar
1 egg
75 ml (5 tbsp) brown sugar
45 ml (3 tbsp) molasses
15 ml (1 tbsp) orange juice
SUGAR COATING
30 ml (2 tbsp) brown sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) white sugar
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
In a large bowl, combine cricket powder, flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda and salt.
In a second larger bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, brown sugar, molasses and orange juice.
Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. When mixed, place dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes to set.
In a small bowl or on a small plate, mix together brown and white sugar for coating. Roll dough into 2.5-cm (1-inch) balls and then roll in sugar. Place sugared cookie balls on a parchment-lined or ungreased cookie sheet about 5 cm (2 inches) apart. Flatten very slightly.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until bottom and edges are a light golden brown. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
Store in an airtight container. The cookies can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Makes 24 cookies.
CRICKET CARAMEL CHEESECAKES
These one-bite cheesecakes are creamy and rich. The gluten-free cricket crust and candied crickets on top make this dessert a one-of-a-kind conversation piece and a great dish for anybody curious about the sweeter taste of crickets.
The cheesecakes freeze well. Top with caramel and crickets after you pull them from the freezer the day you plan to serve them.
Dulce de leche can be purchased or made simply with condensed milk. Recipes are available online.
Crust
150 ml (2/3 cup) pecans
175 ml (3/4 cup) flaked, unsweetened organic coconut
50 ml (1/4 cup) cashew butter
30 ml (2 tbsp) organic local honey
30 ml (2 tbsp) coconut flour
60 ml (4 tbsp) ground almonds or almond meal
50 ml (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
Pinch of sea salt
50 ml (1/4 cup) organic cricket flour (gluten free, if necessary)
Cheesecake
2 eggs
125 ml (1/2 cup) organic sugar
500 g (1 lb) cream cheese, room temperature
125 ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream
10 ml (2 tsp) custard powder
Topping
50 ml (1/4 cup) roasted organic crickets
30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated honey
Pinch of sea salt
50 ml (1/4 cup) dulce de leche, room temperature
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
Line one or two mini muffin pans with mini muffin cups (foil candy cups work especially well).
Crust: Place pecans in a food processor and mix until oils begin to give nuts a pecan butter texture.
Add coconut, cashew butter, honey, coconut flour, almonds, butter, salt and cricket flour. Pulse until well combined.
Remove from processor and place in a bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes to stiffen while you make your cheesecake mixture.
Cheesecake: In a medium bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
Alternate adding cream cheese and cream in small amounts and continue to beat. Mix custard powder with last bit of cream to be added, then add it to cream cheese mixture. Finish beating and set aside.
Remove crust mixture from refrigerator and place 5 ml (1 tsp) in each muffin cup. Press into bottom to flatten.
Place cheesecake mixture in a piping bag with a medium to large hole and pipe into each cup in a circular motion, starting from outside and ending in middle.
Place cheesecakes in oven and bake for 15 minutes. To prevent cracking, turn oven off and leave cheesecakes in for an additional 15 minutes while oven cools, then remove and let cool. (Alternatively, to prevent cracking, place muffin tin on a cookie sheet and put some water in the cookie sheet. The steam from the water helps prevent cheesecake cracking.)
Topping: While cheesecakes are baking, place roasted crickets in a colander and shake. This helps to quickly remove the legs. Pour onto a plate and separate whole crickets. Discard legs.
Heat saute pan over medium-low and add granulated honey, sea salt and crickets. Continue stirring until honey melts and crickets are well coated. Mix for another 10 seconds, being careful not to burn honey or crickets. Remove from pan and place on a sheet of parchment paper to cool. Before they cool completely, break candied crickets apart into bits that are the size of 2 to 3 crickets for the tops of your cheesecakes.
Place caramel in a piping bag with a small hole and pipe a drop of dulce de leche onto the centre of each cooled cheesecake. Put 2 or 3 candied crickets on top.
Makes 48 one-bite cheesecakes.
Source: Caryn Goldin, chef and culinary manager of Entomo Farms.