Saturday, March 24, 2018

Escamoles (Ant Larvae and Pupae) Tacos

Escamoles (or insect caviar) are the edible ant larvae (having emerged from eggs: legless, plump and resembling a comma) and pupae (the next stage: like white waxy ants with their legs and antennae folded up against their body) of two species of ant found near Mexico City. Like the maguey worms (caterpillars) that we ate, the escamoles are found among the roots of the agave from which both mezcal and tequila are made. Wikipedia notes that they "taste buttery and nutty". 

They resemble white corn kernels or pine nuts and have a poppy texture. They are often pan-fried in butter and spices and served in tacos and omelettes accompanied with guacamole. 
We had escamoles in tacos at El Hidalguense in Mexico City at the same time we ate tacos with maguey worms. As I look at the escamoles we ate, they were virtually all ant larvae and not pupae. 
I must admit that I paused before my first bite. The mental image was not great. But to my astonishment, they had a fantastic taste. They were not just tolerable, they were great! They have a pop and reminded me of corn kernels, although they are lighter and have a more distinctive taste. These are really, really good. 

1 comment:

  1. I reluctantly agree that these were really tasty. If you hadn't told me what they were, I would have enthusiastically eaten more. This was one food where it was hard to get past what the food was. Nice to look at, good tasting, just don't think about what it is.