Insects had a moment in American cooking circa 2016. Well, maybe not quite a while, but people were tasting them quite a bit, both as a surprising topping and as a kind of “stealth health” ingredient in flours and batters.
Insects are nutritious – a very good source of lean protein – and extremely sustainable, with a negligible carbon footprint. They’re also arguably low on the cruelty scale because they’re usually painlessly shipped by freezing.
The problem is that Americans as a rule really don’t want to eat it.
But some operators are trying again, with crickets. In fact, this week you can take a look at two approaches to incorporating crickets into your menu, with cricket flour in the tortillas at Coyote Crossing in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and front and center in the Jiminy cocktail ice cube. at The Fed at the Langham in Boston.
If plankton is more your cup of tea, so to speak, you can try this folded in pasta at Ancora in San Francisco.
Another dramatic presentation can be found at Patio Isola in Miami, where the cheesy garlic bread gets the bone marrow treatment, an upscale approach that makes the $19 price tag more justifiable.
Looking for something a little more traditional and you can find it at La Neta in Las Vegas, where chef Israel Castro offers a salmon belly crudo.
The fact that the least unusual dish featured this week includes raw fish says a lot about our culinary situation. We have come a long way.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]