Hat tip to Charles Yoo for this earthy tidbit. As part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s latest exhibition, four-star chef Ryan Cobb prepares two gourmet dishes on the first Saturday of each month through October. Chef Cobb does two shows, 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. His prepared entrees include sweet and sour mealworms over rice noodles and crickets and grits [see photo], chocolate-covered crickets and scorpion scampi, and Crickets & Grits.
Although chef Cobb works five days a week at the Rice House at Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville, and preciously headed up kitchens at Cafe Boheme in Little Five Points, Oceanaire Seafood Room in Midtown, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he earned his four stars, Cobb’s thesis at the Art Institute of Atlanta was bugs a la carte.
“Armed with skillets, olive oil, chopped green peppers and other fresh vegetables,” writes Yoo, “Cobb wowed an audience of 200. The crowd first resisted the thought of inserting those crunchy critters into their mouths, but Cobb’s 20-minute cooking segment quickly transformed them into believers”.
“Oh my god!”said Morgan Voyles, 13, of Atlanta, as she tried the sauteed worms. “It’s crunchy. It’s good”
Chef Ryan Cobb’s Crickets & Grits
* 4-6 Servings
* 4 cups prepared grits
* 6 diced tomatoes
* 12 pieces diced okra
* 1/2 diced onion
* 2 tbsp. cajun seasoning
* 2 tbsp. fresh basil
* 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
* 2 tbsp. minced garlic
* 7 oz. diced pancetta (or bacon)
* 50 roasted crickets
First freeze live crickets, then roast on a cookie sheet at 350 degree for 13 to 15 minutes. Cook pancetta in a sauce pan; once browned, strain off half of the grease. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except crickets. Cook over low heat for one to one and a half hours. Season with salt and pepper. Add roasted crickets. Cook for a minute. Spoon over prepared grits.