If there is one food that is universally loved, one particular type of culinary creation that has a global consensus validating it’s awesomeness, one food that’s preparation transcends sociocultural boundaries… it would have to be pizza.
Well maybe not, but it does seem safe to say that the majority of people appreciate a quality slice.
However, while we’re on the topic of universally shared culinary preferences, there is one food that does actually find it’s way into the diet of nearly every human on the plant… and it happens to be the special ingredient in this dish-insects, or in this case mealworms.
That’s right, humans inhabiting every corner of the globe have been consuming insects since before recorded history, and they still do today…which may have you asking,
“Wait…Who is eating insects in this day and age?”
Well actually… You are!
According to the FDA…
“The current FDA Food Defect Action Levels states that on average there is 150 or more insect fragments per 100 grams of wheat flour.”
…and that’s just wheat flour. Not to mention nearly all canned and processed foods, Check it out.
But wait, no need to worry!
The FDA states that these contaminants pose no inherent hazard to health. In fact, insects are packed full of minerals, vitamins, and protein, making them highly nutritious.
To be honest though, bugs sneaking into your sandwich bread isn’t what I’m interested in. What fascinates me, and spurred my purchase of the aforementioned mealworms, is the fact that the future sustainability of our food system may depend on the consumption of these little critters.
The reason for this is that insects are extremely efficient energy converters. Meaning they require much less natural resources-water, land, feed, fossil fuels-to grow compared to conventional livestock.
They are so much more efficient in fact, that the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations published a report pointing out how valuable insects may prove to be in feeding the world’s rising population, and highlighting their efficiency compared to conventional livestock by explaining:
With insects it takes roughly 2 pounds of feed to create 1 pound of usable meat. With cattle it takes roughly 25 pounds of feed to create that same single pound of meat.
Anyway… just some food for thought!
With that being said, I am excited to share with you my most recent pizza creation.
Sorry to say that the sourdough chocolate chip cookie-topped with a scoop of banana ice cream and smothered in peanut sauce-that caught your eye in the first picture is a recipe for another time.
This is the method I use to make simple weeknight pizzas. It is extremely easy, extremely versatile, and extremely delicious. This recipe has four key parts:
- Fermented Tomato Sauce
- “Cheater” Sourdough Crust
- Sautéed Veggies
- Spiced Mealworms
Fermented Tomato sauce
For this I simply mix a can of tomato paste (containing no preservatives!) with pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, smashed fresh garlic, and a cup of live culture pickle juice-which you can get from any veggie ferment. Put this mixture in a jar, close the lid, and let sit at room temperature, stirring daily, for a 3-5 days. After a few days, the lactic acid in the bacteria will have fermented the tomato sauce creating a unique pickled taste that will compliment your pizza beautifully.
“Cheater” Sourdough Crust
I call this sourdough crust “cheater” because it takes a fraction of the effort of a traditional crust and is a bit unorthodox in preparation. Basically, it ends up being more of a batter then a dough, and you pour it into the pan, which means you need to cook the pizza in a container with sides.
Note: The slices may end up being a bit less pick-up-able than traditional crusts.
Simply mix a few scoops of sourdough starter with whole grain flour and water-quantity depending on desired size of crust. It should be thick, but still able to be stirred with a spoon. Let this dough/batter sit out at room temperature for 3-12 hours stirring occasionally. The longer it sits, the more intense the sour flavor will be. Once you’re ready to bake the pizza, stir in a pinch of salt, various seasonings of choice, and a couple tbsps of butter/coconut oil/vegetable oil-amount depends on size, and isn’t required.
Chop the veggies, butter the skillet, and cook ’em long and slow. For this particular creation I used bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, and onions.
In this case, a packet of spiced meal-worms from Next Millennium Farms.
Once the dough is soured, the sauce is pickled, the veggies sautéed, and the insects obtained, you’re ready to create!
1. Pour “cheater” sourdough crust batter into buttered/oiled cast iron skillet
You want it to cover the entire bottom about a half an inch thick
2. Place in preheated oven at 450°F for 8mins
Watch it! You want the top to be slightly browned, but not burned
3. Pull from oven- spread the sauce, add veggies, and sprinkle the crickets
4. Cook until it looks delicious- roughly 10mins
5. Pull from the oven, let cool, and enjoy!
Although it can be removed, I find it easiest to cut slices directly from the pan
I know I know… there is no measurements, and the step-by-step is lacking detail. Don’t worry though! This recipe is extremely flexible and almost impossible to mess up. Experiment to fit your culinary style, utilize the guess-and-check method, and try to think of this post as a starting block to creatively spring board your own sourdough pizza baking.
Was I convincing enough to get you to consider eating bugs?