Salsa de Chapulines

Grasshopper Salsa

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes about

    2 cups

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico

Oaxaca

By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

It always boggles my mind when people think it’s weird that I eat chapulines. I remember in middle school I would take chapulines to school as a snack and I was known as “that girl who ate grasshoppers.” I ate them like popcorn. But I always loved them and embraced my reputation. I was never ashamed. Every time someone comes into my restaurants and thinks it’s weird to eat grasshoppers, I always ask them: “Well, do you like shrimp?” I ask them to analyze the diet that shrimp eat and to compare it to the diet of grasshoppers, and I prove to them that they’re not that far apart. If you eat one, you can eat the other. Chapulines adds umami, depth, brightness, and texture to any dish. Not to mention that they are one of the most sustainable proteins to grow and eat. I think of them as just being salty raisins. This salsa made with blended grasshoppers is the perfect gateway dish to show people just how delicious chapulines can be. We sell the best food-grade grasshoppers imported from Oaxaca at our online store. I recommend that you serve this salsa to your guests—assuming they’re not vegan or vegetarian—and don’t tell them what’s in it until after the compliments start pouring in.

Ingredients

  • Generous 1 pound (500 g) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup (25 g) chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 morita chiles (can substitute with chipotle chile), stems removed
  • ¼ cup (25 g) dried grasshoppers
  • teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Method

In a 2-quart (2 L) saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the tomatillos and ½ cup (120 ml) water and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatillos have changed from a dark to a light green color. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat, and mix well. Sauté until the garlic and onion are golden brown, then remove from the pan and reserve. Add the chiles to the pan and toast them for about 1 minute or until the color changes to a bright red. Remove from the pan and reserve. Add the grasshoppers and fry for another 5 minutes, until they appear to look slightly crispy.

In a blender, puree the tomatillos, chiles, and garlic and onion mixture along with the grasshoppers, ¾ cup (180 ml) water, and the salt. Stir in the lime juice and taste for salt.