Here at Gastrobug HQ we want to explore the versatility of insects as food: we love being able to add ground insects like crickets and mealworms to all sorts of comfort food for an added, subtle flavour, but what else can they do? How many places can they go?
So this time we wanted to look at a nice, easy way to use some of the mealworms we've got in the freezer as a garnish, but one that doesn't immediately look like we've just dropped a pile of insects on our dinner. And my lovely wife Maddy (who made the amazing Sugar Cookie recipe we just put out yesterday) suggested making onion straws out of them.
So that's what we did!
Onion straws are great: they work both as a garnish and as a snack you can eat by the handful until you realize you didn't make enough. And while mealworms aren't as juicy and succulent as onions, they do provide an extra crunch when you deep fry them, and to us, that more than makes up for it.
If you're still working up your courage to eat whole insects, these mealworm straws will be a great option for you: we made them to go onto mashed potatoes, and when you mix them up you're left with a wonderful, satisfying crunch in the middle of your delicious mashed, and a burst of flavour from the seasoning. And when you're comfortable eating them that way, you can just pop the leftovers in your mouth directly. It's win-win!
In addition to the taste and the ease of raising them, a benefit of edible insects is that they can reduce the strain and dependency on traditional animal sources and animal products. Which is wonderful! But there are so many recipes that use animal products even when the focus isn't on cooking up a big hunk of meat. This recipe, for example, uses a wash to get the spicy flour mixture to stick to the mealworms' shells, and a common wash is made of milk and egg. So we thought we'd provide the option of a non-animal based wash, allowing the recipe to be made Entomovegan -- vegan except for the insects. Because why not reduce reliance on traditional animal sources as much as possible?
Place the finished mealworms on some paper towel to drain, and cook the remaining mealworms in thirds.
Add to your food as a garnish, or eat them by themselves: they’re like candy with extra legs!