The first time I had chapulines I didn’t know what I was eating, exactly. There was a mysterious plastic bag filled with reddish tiny things with legs. Coated in chile powder, my co-workers were chowing down on whatever was in this bag. From the looks of them hungrily devouring this snack, I knew it had to be good. When the bag made its way to me, I hesitated but as always, curiosity got the best of me and I plunged my hand in. I pulled out a few and popped them into my mouth. They tasted of mildly spiced chile powder and lime. Crunchy, savory, and delicious. My hand went in for seconds. When I asked what they were, the answer was “insectos”. Ok, I was cool with that and didn’t ask any more questions. It wasn’t until many years later that I found out what kind of insects they were. Grasshoppers! Although mostly consumed in Oaxaca, I’ve spotted these tasty treats in the markets of Mexico City and Tijuana. There are also a variety of sizes ranging from very small to quite large as in half a finger in length. I prefer the smallest ones I can find for the extra crunch.
Tostadas de Chapulines:
yield: 15 tostadas
1 tablespoon chapulines
3 sprigs cilantro, picked
yield: 15 tostadas
5 corn tortillas
2″ diameter round cookie cutter
Stack the tortillas and place cookie cutter over to cut 3 circles from the surface. Cut right through the stack or reduce the stack to 2 at a time for easier cutting. Place the tortilla rounds on a wire baking rack for 4-5 hours until dry.
When tortilla rounds are hard and dry, toast over a hot pan until crisp and edges have darkened. Set aside.
1 ripe avocado
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste
In a mortar, mash the garlic clove with a generous pinch of salt until the garlic is broken down and turns pasty. Add the avocado and mash until almost smooth (some small chunks are necessary for better texture). Add lime juice and stir until incorporated.
Assemble the Tostadas:
Place a generous teaspoon of guacamole on each tostada, top with 2-3 chapulines and cilantro.
Enjoy with a glass of dry white wine.