What does a tomato hornworm taste like? Well, what would you taste like if you'd been stuffing yourself solely with tomato leaves for the better part of a month? Hornworms are ridiculously chlorophyll-rich. They taste great with just about any summer vegetable, but my favorite recipe draws inspiration from the cuisine of the Whistle Stop Cafe, that fictitious Alabama diner made famous by novelist Fanny Flagg.
"You'll think you died and gone to heaven," boasts Flagg of her recipe. To
which I add, "If you do go to heaven, ask the Powers That Be to keep the
tomato hornworms out of my vegetable patch."
3 tablespoons olive oil
16 tomato hornworms
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil. Then lightly fry the hornworms,
about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect
under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Season tomato rounds with salt and pepper, then coat with cornmeal on both
In a large skillet, fry tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides
Top each round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.
Garnish the paired hornworms with a single basil leaf.
Yield: 4 servings
From the Website of chef, lecturer and author David George Gordon
Collected by Bert Christensen.