An Ohio Pizzeria Served Cicada Pizza to a Tasting Panel: Here's What They Thought
The Pizza Bandit-which bills itself as selling authentic New York-style pies and slices-went for something a bit more obscure over the weekend, whipping up an experimental Spicy Thai Cicada Pie. On their Facebook page, the pizza shop described the final product as "18-inch handtossed dough with miso hoisin sriracha sauce, mozzarella and provolone, blanched and sautéed locally foraged cicadas, mushroom, cabbage, green onion, mango, cilantro, with a spicy Thai sauce after the bake and a Cicada wing adorned crust!"
In a nearly 13-minute video, The Pizza Bandit filmed as the pizza's chef, a food scientist, a beer pairing expert, the forager who found the cicada, and a handful of other tasters gave the pizza a try. "I blanched them real quick in the water this morning," the chef explained, "and that was kind of a weird smell I wasn't a huge fan of. And that was pretty much the only unpleasant part, other than picking the wings and dealing with them." He later added that he sautéed the cicadas in "a chili powder, sesame oil, and a couple other things."
As for how the cicadas were collected, the forager offered up an incredibly simple process: "I just went to an area where they were heavily populated and picked them off the trees."
Was it all worth the effort? The very first bite inspired one taster to proclaim, "Absolutely delicious, just the cicada by itself." The chef's first thought was more middle of the road, however: "It's quite crunchy." And the food scientist wasn't totally on board, concluding, "It's not bad; the visual is just a problem."
But in one of the final opinions before signing off, another taster who said he had a lot of experience with bizarre food like bugs explained, "This is completely not what I was expecting. This is extremely good. They don't take away any flavor; they don't add any bad flavor…. If you can get around the goo and the crunch, it's really good."
Unfortunately, if you want to try this Spicy Thai Cicada Pie, you're going to have to find a forager and chef or do it yourself (though, worth noting, the FDA has suggested people with shellfish allergies should not eat cicadas). "You can NOT get this pizza by the slice or whole pie because we're not even sure if we legally can sell you locally foraged Cicadas," The Pizza Bandit explains on Facebook.
But don't worry: There are other ways to get your cicada fix-like a Maryland candy shop that is selling a chocolate-covered version of the seasonal critters.