Escamoles, also known as Mexican caviar or insect caviar, are the edible larvae and pupae of ants found in Mexico. They have somewhat of a nutty, buttery flavor (particularly when prepared in butter), but tend to become crunchy after frying.
Similar to cottage cheese in texture, escamoles are usually eaten on their own but can also be added to tacos, tortillas, omelettes or salsa and served with guacamole. They are typically eaten in Mexico City and neighboring areas.
Origin & Cultural Significance
In Mexico, the consumption of escamoles dates back to the era of the Aztecs. Escamoles were considered to be an easily available source of protein and people in ancient civilizations would consume them in large quantities as they are high in nutritional content. This helped them get through the long hours of fasting and walking.
As escamol are seasonal, people begin to collect the eggs between March and April.
Mexican Escamoles Recipe
- Escamoles - 2 cups
- Serrano peppers - 2
- Onion - 1/2
- Garlic cloves - 2
- Epazote sprigs - 2
- Butter - 1/2 stick
- Salt - 1/2 tbsp
- Begin by washing the escamoles using a strainer. Make sure you get rid of all the impurities. If you’re using canned escamoles, there is no need to rinse them.
- Now, take a griddle and, on a medium flame, place 2 serran peppers and 2 garlic cloves. If you prefer eating a milder salsa, take out the seeds and the veins of the chilies.
- Roast the garlic for only about 1 minute and the chilies for approximately 3 minutes. Keep in mind to let them roast until all sides of both the chillies and garlic are moderately roasted. Remember to keep moving them frequently using tongs.
- Once done, shift the roasted ingredients from the griddle to the blender (using the tongs). Also, make sure to pour 1/4 cup of water (2 fl oz) into the blender.
- Blend all the ingredients and keep the mixture aside.
- Now take the onion and epazote sprigs and finely chop them. Place them aside.
- Take a frying pan. Add butter and, over low heat, melt it. Add in the minced onion and fry it for about 1 minute. Let it cook until it turns a bit transparent, and keep in mind to stir constantly.
- Place the rinsed escamoles in the frying pan. Combine all the ingredients properly and fry for approximately 2 minutes. Allow them to fry until the escamoles turn white, stirring occasionally throughout the cooking process.
- Pour the freshly prepared mixture into the frying pan. Also, add the minced epazote, and more importantly, add 1/2 tablespoon of salt.
- Combine all the ingredients properly in the frying pan and let the escamole salsa fry for approximately 4 minutes. Wait for it to thicken a little, and until then, keep stirring occasionally.
- Once done, transfer the prepared salsa to a container and serve. You can also save some for later. Place it in a container and store it for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 964mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
Photo credit: MCGau