This quick-and-easy entrée, using already-cooked bugs, can be prepared an hour or so ahead of time. Simply remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and drizzle on the aÃ¯oli at the last moment.
8 cooked Balmain bugs
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
200g wild or baby rocket, washed and dried
2 bunches thin green asparagus, blanched (see notes)
Pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon of water for 15 minutes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup whole-egg mayonnaise (see notes)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the saffron aÃ¯oli, in a bowl, whisk the saffron mixture and garlic into the mayonnaise. Set aside.
Slice the bugs lengthways and remove the meat from the shells, remove the digestive tract (grey thread) running down the middle of the tail meat. Trim ends of meat and chop the trimmings.
In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and rocket. Mix well. Arrange on a serving platter with the asparagus and bug meat on top. Drizzle over some of the aÃ¯oli and serve with remaining aÃ¯oli.
Notes: If you don’t want to make your own mayonnaise, use one made from whole eggs. If asparagus spears are thick and woody, snap off and discard the bottom section and use a potato peeler to peel the spears; if they are thin, you may only need to cut off the very end without peeling. Blanch asparagus in well-salted boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then refresh in ice water, or cold running water, to stop the cooking process.
Alternative species you can use in this recipe include: marron, prawns, redclaw, scampi and yabby.