Soft-shelled cicadas

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
60 Freshly emerged 17 year
3 cups Flour
Salt and pepper to season
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Corn oil or slightly salted
John Hartman
Indianapolis, IN

The seventeen year cicada is considered a delicacy by nearly every living creature and when emerging, by the millions, stuff every animal for miles. Birds have trouble getting off the ground. Foxes waddle. Garter snakes are lumpy. Dogs and cats curl up and sleep all day. In former times, the Native Americans found them to be a worthy addition to their diets when available.

The cicadas emerge at night and hang like snow white Christmas ornaments from the trees. As they dry, their color darkens to a black with orange decorative stripes. They are at their finest at night when they just emerge and are still soft. They make great campfire cooking fare. For those who are interested, they are kosher! The best way to prepare them is to dip them, still alive, in beaten egg, roll them in the seasoned flour and then gently saute them until they are golden brown. They have a wonderful rich nutty flavor.

Preparing them is simplicity itself.

To find a supply of cicadas, call or write a local college or university department of entomology. They can supply information as to which brood will be emerging in your area or near your area. They may be able to supply a general map and even specific dates when the emergence will occur. Here, in Indiana, we will have to wait until about Memorial Day weekend, 2002 A.D. So you see, this is not a treat that you can just go out and pick up at Krogers. It is worth the wait, even if it is just to say that you have done it!

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