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Michael Sansolo referenced a cicada invasion in his commentary yesterday, and I suggested that maybe retailers could start selling cicada-infused foods - they are, after all, said to be edible.

MNB reader Angie Criswell responded:

In 1987, the Snappy Tomato Pizza company changed their special to Snappy Cicada Pizza….As a kid growing up in the Greater Cincinnati area in 1987, the Snappy Cicada Pizza Jingle would get stuck in your head.  While the cicadas were getting stuck in your feathered and aquanet-ed hair…I was never brave enough to try one, but it was a real thing…


MNB reader George Denman (of MNB fave Graeter's Ice  Cream) wrote:

Here are just a few recipes that I saw a few years back when  Cicadas came out here in Cincinnati. Don’t worry though,  Graeter’s is NOT working on a cicada flavored ice cream!!   


Chocolate Covered Cicadas

Source: "CICADA-LICIOUS: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicadas"

Ingredients:
8 squares of good-quality dark, white, or milk chocolate
30 dry roasted cicadas

Directions:
1. Roast teneral cicadas for 15 minutes at 225F.
2. Melt chocolate in a double-boiler over low heat. Dip insects in chocolate, place on wax paper and refrigerate until hardened.



Crispy wok tossed cicadas

Source: AndrewZimmern.com

Ingredients:

2 cups cicadas
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 hot dried Asian chile
4 tablespoons minced lemongrass
1 cup chopped scallions
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Toban Djan (fermented bean paste with chiles)
1 cup minced celery
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon corn starch
3 tablespoons rice wine (or sake)

1. Collect roughly 2 cups of cicadas, keep them in a bucket (with a lid) with an inch of water inside. Wet wings means they won't fly off! Dry on a towel, pluck wings and legs, and set aside.

2. Preheat a large wok over high heat. Add the peanut oil, and swirl.

3. Add the minced ginger, hot dried Asian chile (tsin-tsin work great), minced lemongrass, chopped scallions, minced garlic, sugar, Toban Djan (fermented bean paste with chiles, Lee Kum Kee brand is fine) and toss for 15 seconds. Add the cicadas. If you can't find fermented bean paste, use a few tablespoons of Chinese dried salted black beans instead.

4. Toss for one minute to cook. Add the minced celery, toss. Mix the soy sauce, corn starch and rice wine together in a separate bowl, then add the mixture to the wok. Toss, cooking for another minute or so until sauce tightens.



Cica-Delicious Pizza

Source: "CICADA-LICIOUS: Cooking and Enjoying Periodical Cicadas"

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 cups chopped tomatoes, including juice and seeds
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms
3/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
3/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 1/2 cups blanched cicadas
1 cup feta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 recipe of your favorite pizza dough (for a 12" pizza)

Directions:

1. Heat oil in sauté pan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden.

2. Add the herbs and cook for another minute, until wilted.

3. Add the tomatoes and juice, turn the heat to low, and gently cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the liquid had been absorbed and the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the dough by rolling it out to desired thickness and shaping it into a 12" circle. Using a shallow wooden spoon, spread the tomato sauce over the pizza dough to the desired thickness.

5. Distribute the rest of the ingredients evenly over the top of the pizza.

6. Place pizza in a 375F oven for 15 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.


 Who knew?  (Well, apparently George and Angie did…)