May 24, 2013

A Riesling with that Cicada Taco?

A great source of protein is coming to a backyard near you as millions of cicadas are beginning to emerge from their 17-year incubation. Soft-shelled Cicada.  Or maybe you’d like to try recipes for  tacos and cicada sushi suggested by the Daily News.

Wine educator Hank Zona of Maplewood, N.J..  is offering a wine pairing for the person who suggests the most interesting menu.

“I’ve seen a lot of recipes for frying them,” Zona said. “With fried food I think of sparkling wines that have a nice crispness and acidity that sort of counter balances  that.”

A spicy Szechuan cicada? Zona recommends a Riesling.

Or maybe making art is a more palatable approach to celebrating the 17-year-cicada brood. In Montclair, the Art Garage is holding a contest for anyone who wants to make something with or inspired by the cicadas.

The contest was the idea of Suzanne O’Connor, owner of the gallery, which also holds classes for all ages. She finds the idea of all those bugs descending on us gross.

 “But I always find that when you confront something that you don’t really like or that you’re afraid of or think is kinda  gross, and you really look at it you might see something completely different and find the beauty in that,” O’Connor said.

 Biology professor Scott Kight hopes that schools will use the 17-year swarm to teach kids about prime numbers and evolution.  Because the number is only divisible by one and itself, the long prime-numbered cycle gives cicadas an advantage over their predators.

 “Any species, for example,  that eats you is going to have a very difficult time, ecologically, cycling on the same cycle you’re on,” Kight said.

 “If you have an animal predator that has a  2-year population cycle  or five year population cycle, how often are they going to coincide with the 17-year repeat --  almost never,” Kight said. “So this is a great strategy for doing your reproducing in years that your predators are very unlikely to have large numbers.


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