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%%EOF The experience starts with a brief history of the spirit and is followed by descriptions of its many varieties and finally a complete tasting. “People from the city need to start thinking more about what is in the tortillas they are consuming,” Olvera says. To extract the stored liquid, fellow ants stroke the honeypot’s antennae until it regurgitates the precious honey. For 25 years, this family home has been opening its doors on Wednesdays and Thursdays, offering traditional Oaxacan cooking, including various home-grown products. Fill the lek with the corn husks. In the past few years, however, many chefs in Mexico City have begun working to preserve these old types of maíz, along the way opening new businesses devoted to the tortilla. But experts actually recommend drinking young mezcal, straight. Tlacolula market is located about 30km from Oaxaca city and is known for its main meeting hall. Keep refrigerated. xref Every year when the chicatanas arrive, there is a feeling of excitement in the air. 0000052688 00000 n startxref 0000000016 00000 n He is fueled by a constant exploration of Mexico's ingredients and culinary history, and inspired by his early family memories about food. 0000044371 00000 n 0000042954 00000 n A recipe by Enrique Olvera, taken from Mexico from the Inside Out. Method for chicatana ant, coffee, and chile costeño mayonnaise. 237 0 obj <> endobj Some people also grind the chicatanas down and mix them with salt to make an accompaniment for mezcal, not dissimilar to the worm salt ‒ sal de gusano ‒ used throughout the rest of the year. Its flavor, reminiscent of ground coffee and chocolate, was prized in salsas prepared just after the first rains of the season. Add the salt, then slowly drizzle in the safflower and grapeseed oils while whisking constantly. It had a complex taste despite so few ingredients. All rights reserved. 0000071216 00000 n Olvera has pioneered and defined this new way of cooking and belongs to a global group of gourmet influencers that includes Noma's René Redzepi, Dom's Alex Attala, Osteria Francescana's Massimo Bottura and elBulli's legendary Ferran Adrià. Always get them from street vendors – the most crowded stand is always the best one. Chef Ricardo Arellano, from a small town in Oaxaca’s La Cañada region, remembers eating these flying critters every year. It captures and presents a new contemporary Mexican style of food, rooted in tradition but forward thinking in its modern approach. “When a mother is trying to feed her family and there is no food, these ants are a good option because they have a rich flavour and are high in protein," Arellano told me. 0000060312 00000 n As in the case of the red worm, chicatanas have been consumed since pre-hispanic times. The absence of mixer allows people to taste and enjoy its earthy flavours. Corn has been the staple of the Mexican diet for 7,000 years, but the advent of industrialized agriculture, which favors consistency over flavor, has jeopardized many heirloom varieties. Drizzle in oil while beating until mayonnaise texture is achieved. Chicatanas are large Mexican flying ants that appear annually during the first rain of the season because they're trying to flee their flooded nests and search for food sources. 0000043649 00000 n Keep refrigerated. All rights reserved. h�b``�d``�����ps��XX8&0. Arellano purchased bags of live chicatanas for around 850 pesos per pound this year. Before dawn, families all over the state of Oaxaca head out to catch the ants, which are considered a regional delicacy. 0000041929 00000 n Remove from the heat and peel off the husks; reserve the last layer (the most tender and therefore the most flexible one) to tie around the lower part of the ears of corn. Still, the irony wasn’t lost on any of us that we were in one of Oaxaca’s most exclusive restaurants enjoying a sauce made with ants that for years were considered a food of the poor. Olvera rethinks how to use traditional, authentic local ingredients using unusual flavor combinations to create a reinvented way of cooking and eating. “They aren’t hard to catch,” explained Hernández Cruz. “If we don’t buy this corn,” Muñoz says of the heirloom varieties, “in 20 years, they won’t exist.”, Finally, El Parnita chef Paulino Martinez realized that in order to make the best tacos, he needed to have the best tortillas, so he traveled the country to learn about its corn, which he says “is as varied as Mexico’s population.” Last year, he opened a shop known simply as El Expendio de Maíz (The Corn Store). 0000002319 00000 n Thread each ear of corn onto a skewer and tie the reserved layer around accordingly. Hardback | English. Put the chiles on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour in a 200°F (90°C/Gas Mark 0) oven. He then toasted avocado leaves and chile de arbol peppers before adding all the ingredients to a molcajete, a traditional Mexican pestle and mortar made from volcanic rock, with some raw garlic. Grind. But undoubtedly the state’s most representative drink is mezcal, traditionally enjoyed with friends and family as it’s thought to bring people together. View image of Every spring, swarms of ‘chicatanas’ fill the skies of Oaxaca in southern Mexico (Credit: Credit: Education Images/Getty Images), View image of Mexicans have eaten insects since the Mesoamerican times (Credit: Credit: Nikhol Esteras), View image of Families all over the region sweep them up and toast them on the comal – a flat griddle (Credit: Credit: Nikhol Esteras), View image of Chef Ricardo Arellano uses the ants to make a sauce flavoured with chili and avocado leaves (Credit: Credit: Nikhol Esteras), View image of Due to their fleeting availability, chicatanas have become a delicacy served in high-end restaurants (Credit: Credit: Nikhol Esteras). Let cool. Arellano puts this down to curiosity as well as an international gastronomical movement that sees insects as part of its future. Mix in the espresso, chicatana ant powder, and chile costeño powder. Meat is chargrilled in front of customers on anafre ovens, and highlights include tasajo (beef, usually wood-smoked), chorizo and cecina (salted, dried meat). “People from the city need to start thinking more about what is in the tortillas they are consuming,” Olvera says. 0000000934 00000 n After you enter your details, you will receive a confirmation email. 0000045474 00000 n They fall from the sky, and you can sweep them up into big piles and then toast them on the comal [a flat griddle].”, The sky fills with biblical-like swarms of these reddish-brown insects. At Pujol  Enrique Olvera’s Mexico City restaurant, he uses chicatanas to make a mayonnaise that he serves on baby corn, creating a contemporary twist on the Mexican street food, elotes. Traditional clay vessels and straw baskets decorate the counter, and the afternoon menu focuses on corn: elote with chicatana-ant mayonnaise, epazote quesadillas, huitlacoche tamales.

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