René Redzepi is cooking ant eggs in Mexico
And those 'white rice looking things' are Mexican caviar - according to new book On Eating Insects
“You can’t make people eat insects, just because we want them to eat insects,” the Mexican chef Enrique Olvera tells Josh Evans, the Nordic Food Lab’s erstwhile lead researcher, in our new book On Eating Insects. “But if it tastes good, it doesn’t matter. Like this taco de escamoles con colinabo y poro.”
That taco's main ingredient, Escamoles, is a Mexican term for queen ant eggs, commonly harvested from the roots of agave plants in and around Mexico City, which have, according to On Eating Insects' tasting notes, the flavour of youg blue goat’s milk cheese, avocado and fresh almond.
The eggs have been eaten by locals in Mexico since pre-colonial times, and now, thanks to Enrique, Evans and co, escamoles are ending up oin front of a whole new set of diners.
The world-famous chef René Redezepi is currently in Mexico, preparing for his Mexican pop-up restaurant, Noma Mexico, which will open in the coastal city Tulum on 12 April. Redzepi co-founded the Nordic Food Lab in 2008 to further the gastronomic reach of his Copenhagen restaurant, which pioneered the use of foraged, local ingredients. Therfore, it should come as no surprise that, now he’s in Latin America, he’s trying out these bug eggs - “the white rice looking things” as he describes them in this Instagram post - that Evans characterises as “Mexican caviar” in our new book.
Will his Mexican diners share Olvera and Evans' love for the ant eggs? We'll find out in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, for more on eating Insects get On Eating Insects; for more on Redzepi’s work get Noma and A Work in Progress.