Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the cicadas are here. So many cicadas. After living underground for 17 years, billions of cicadas are ready for their closeup. They are emerging as we speak in 15 states, including Indiana, which is expected to have one of the largest concentrations of Brood X cicadas this year.
Believe it or not, cicadas are edible. And who could be a better resource for a fancy cicada dinner menu than chef Greg Hardesty, he of multiple James Beard nominations and restaurants that defy traditional expectations and categorization. As we wait to see what delicious things Greg comes up with in his forthcoming partnership with BreadWorks at Broad Ripple in the former home of Locally Grown Gardens, we can ponder the possibilities of a night around the table with friends, dining on the insect of the moment. If cicadas aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Hardesty has a plan B. “For a serious dish, a farinette with chopped chicken, mushrooms, and Parmesan is out of this world,” he says.
- 8–10 large cicadas
- 2–3 whole shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2–3 pounds shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3–4 loaves of bread. Remove the crusts and tear the bread into pieces. The bread can be Italian, French, or anything with some chew to it. Can also be a mixture, and stale or leftover bread is a good option.
- Sauté the cicadas and shallots in the butter until shallots are softened and the cicadas are just cooked through. Remove the cicada bodies to a cutting board and roughly chop, reserving the legs and wings for garnish.
- Combine the chopped cicada meat, bread, shiitake mushrooms, parsley, and Parmesan in a bowl.
- Whisk the eggs and cream together in a small bowl, and then gently fold into the cicada and bread mixture. Let everything sit for 10 minutes, allowing the bread to absorb the cream mixture. It should be barely wet, not soaked through.
- Sprinkle the flour, a small handful at a time, over the mixture and stir just to combine. Form dough into 4 disks. (Note: you may not need all of the flour. Just use enough to bind the ingredients together.)
- Refrigerate until after the salad is made.
Cicada Leg & Wing Salad
- Reserved cicada wings and legs
- 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup celery hearts, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon toasted, slivered almonds
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowel, and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To Finish The Dish:
- Remove the farinette discs from the refrigerator. Gently sauté in melted butter until golden brown on both sides and warmed through.
- Place the farinettes in the center of a large plate and mound the wing and leg salad just off the farinettes.
- Drizzle with any remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.
Sommelier Nic Kobrehel’s suggested wine pairing: 2014 Georges Lignier Gevry-Chambertin, for a vibrant and lifting balance of soft red fruit, savory herbs, and persistent and cleansing minerality.
Chef’s Note: Remember to harvest your cicadas fresh, as the meat tends to become rather tough and gamey after 24 hours.