As with you, my first reaction on learning that murder hornets had come to the United States was that incredibly, 2020 had just gotten worse. My second reaction was, “I wonder how they taste?”
I’m not a big eater of insects. I’ve had the chapulines (grasshopper) tacos at Oyamel here in Washington, one of the restaurants owned by Jose Andres, my choice for the Nobel Peace Prize. I suppose that the odd insect part may have found its way into my food at some of the less salubrious restaurants I’ve tried, and I wouldn’t be surprised at anything I might have done in college, but I don’t seek out insects to eat. But the UN and sundry environmentally concerned people want us to eat more insects as an alternative to beef in particular. They’ll have to pull my ribeye from my cold dead hands, but I’m game to try new things. So I looked into murder hornets.
The first thing you do is remove the venom sac. As there is no youtube video on “how to remove a murder hornet’s venom sac”, I recommend that you outsource that task by going to the Entomarket website and ordering up a bunch from their cornucopia of edible insects.
You’re wondering when I will tell you what they taste like. By all reports, including that of Ryan F. Mandelbaum (see here), murder hornets have an earthy flavor more or less along the lines of mushrooms. Let’s try some.
You can get murder hornets as either larvae or mature insects.
Murder Hornet Larvae
These welcome simple preparations. The larvae can be pan fried in a little oil with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic. Or a whole lot of garlic. Or you can add the larvae to Arborio rice to make a risotto. You’d be surprised what works in a risotto.
Mature Murder Hornets
For an aperitif, infuse a liquor of your choice with murder hornets — one hornet per person. In Japan, the favored liquor is sake. Lacking any sake, I’d go with vodka.
For an entree, sauté the murder hornets with onions, mushrooms, sliced shishito or other medium peppers, garlic, and some hot chili and garlic sauce. Serve over rice with a fresh green salad and a loaf of crusty bread.
For a snack, just toss a few raw murder hornets on a bowl of popcorn.
You can read more about the Japanese tradition of eating stinging insects and get some more recipe ideas at this link to a Splendid Table episode. I, frankly, plan to wait until they’re on a menu near me before trying them, but I encourage you to stretch your adventurous side. We have an opening for World Senior Entomophage Correspondent. So try some and report back.
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