How to cook the perfect cicada

Forget the look of them. Ignore their little beaded red eyes, and set aside their glittering wings and dark shell. Just close your eyes and take a bite.

Speaking of cicadas, those Thumb-sized bugs swept the eastern United States this spring, It turns out that they are actually very edible.

So when you think of cicadas, think of taste. Because the truth is-they can be delicious.

Elise Harris of Woodbridge, Virginia, said: “I think they are best when they are particularly crispy,” she is known in the culinary world Tin Hau Chef.

On May 12, 2021, an adult cicada moves in Washington, DC. (Carolyn Custer/Associated Press)

From the East Coast of the United States to British Columbia, Harris provides healthy food and delicacies at high-profile events.

This month, she invited CBC News into her kitchen to try an exotic recipe and teach us how to best eat bugs.

Watch | Benefits of eating cicadas:

Elise M. Harris, known as Diva Chef, explained why Western culture’s aversion to using insects in cooking is not widespread, and showed CBC’s Paul Hunter how to cook with cicadas. 1:21

In fact, insects have become the country’s annual “I dare you” snack.

In the past few weeks, cicadas that are part of the so-called Brood X have emerged collectively from the tunnel they dug into the ground 17 years ago. Now buzzing in about 15 states in the United States, these special cicadas are the largest group of their kind on earth.

Billions of people gathered in the treetops, covering the walls and littering sidewalks. Some people even found their way on the shirt collar of US President Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, when US President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, a cicada found a temporary landing site on his shirt collar. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Harris emphasized that they are not only abundant, but also freely available no matter where you find them-all she uses is a good net on a stick-and they are also an excellent healthy food.

Cicada has low fat content and protein content is not inferior to beef. They are sustainable and environmentally friendly. All kinds of not to love?

Keep in mind that although it may be unusual to eat them in North America, similar insects-such as crickets or grasshoppers-often appear in dishes in many other parts of the world.

Watch | What is the cause of the sudden emergence of cicada infection in the eastern United States? :

Billions of cicadas have appeared in large areas of the eastern United States. For some people, their appearance every 17 years is a highly anticipated event. 5:48

Still don’t believe that Cicada is worth a try?

Harris shared with CBC News some tips to make everything easier.

First, once you have caught some live insects, just put them in a bag and put them in the refrigerator overnight. This will gradually slow down their metabolism, and they will all die peacefully within a few hours.

Cicadas should be rinsed and freeze-dried before frying (Paul Hunt/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

“This is a humane way,” she said.

Harris then cut off the head and wings, freeze-dried the rest, and shrunk their bodies into bite-sized objects.

“You eat with your eyes first,” she said, realizing that no one wants to eat a juicy creature the size of your nose.

‘It’s not so intimidating’

Although they still look like insects in the end, the freeze-drying effect makes them look almost like dried mushrooms or even burnt Brussels sprouts.

Harris said that in this way, “it’s not that scary.”

Then start the cooking competition.

CBC foreign correspondent Paul Hunter (right), when Chef Elise Harris (left) invited CBC News into her home kitchen in Virginia to try avocado toast, heirloom tomatoes and fried cicadas, he gave a lecture on how to best eat bugs Course. (Sumayya Tobah / CBC)

Harris makes cicada tacos, cicada nachos, and even cicada pasta. But for CBC, she tried avocado toast and heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with fried cicadas.

For those insect sprays, she also has a key reminder.

“When it comes to eating bugs, taste is everything,” she told us. “The more fragrant the better.”

Therefore, when the cicada is simmering in oil, she adds chopped green onions, chillies, fresh basil, coriander, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and nothing more.

Just like that, rest on the avocado toast-it’s ready to eat. At least it is ready for anyone who has the courage to do it. Of course we did.

the truth? It is mouth-watering. Even the wrong part. In fact, it is so delicious, we even have a few seconds.

For all those who dare to try now, Harris gave CBC some of her recipes. (They are at the end of this article.)

But there is an important warning: people who are allergic to shellfish should avoid it.

Before cooking, Harris recommends cleaning the cicadas thoroughly—after all, they have lived underground for nearly 20 years.

Otherwise, enjoy your meal!

Boiled cicada

By Elise Harris


Harvesting cicadas should be done in the refrigerator. The cold temperature slows the speed of the cicadas as if they are preparing to hibernate for another 17 years. After catching them, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the refrigerator overnight.


To prepare the cicadas for cooking, I pour them into the filter and rinse them for a minute or two. Any remaining garbage such as antennas, stray legs and dirt are washed down the drain, and then I freeze-dry them to add extra crispness and crunch. The last step is to fry them over medium high heat using the recipe below.

raw material

Cicada (catch as many as possible)
5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt
5 ml (1 teaspoon) olive oil
2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) black pepper
2 cloves garlic, roasted and chopped
15 ml (1 tablespoon) tablespoon diced shallots
15 ml (1 tablespoon) fresh herbs (parsley, chives, basil)

Cicada Avocado Toast

By Elise Harris

For cicadas:

15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) shallots
5 ml (1 teaspoon) roasted garlic
15 ml (1 tablespoon) fresh herbs (parsley, chives)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the guacamole:

1 small firm avocado
15 ml (1 tablespoon) fresh lemon juice
15 ml (1 tablespoon) lemon zest
15 ml (1 tablespoon) fresh chives
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, toasted
1 Roma tomato, sliced ??and oven roasted
Edible flowers
2 slices of multigrain bread, toasted


1. Scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash it with a fork. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and roasted garlic cloves, and stir well. Fold the chives and zest and set aside.

2. Slice the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven at 177 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) for two minutes.

3. For cicadas, sauté all ingredients over medium-high heat for about one minute until crispy.

4. Assemble the avocado toast, starting with the toast as the bottom layer. Add roasted tomatoes, then spread your avocado. Top it with cicadas, extra lemon peel and decorate with edible flowers.

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