(4 oz bag)
Chicatana ants are harvested in select parts of Mexico, only during the first major rains of late spring and early summer (that’s to say, an exceedingly narrow region within an even narrower window of time). They are a rare delicacy and notoriously tricky to catch (not only do they fly, but they also bite!). The Vásquez family, long-time Masienda producer partners on the coast of Oaxaca, saved a small amount of its chicatana surplus exclusively for Masienda this year. Together, three generations of family members prowled their neighboring fields between 2 and 4 in the morning to harvest these ants. The sheer effort, painstaking work and pure tradition involved in gathering this ingredient is a feat worth celebrating and sharing.
This year’s harvest tastes of smoked cacao, nut brittle and a bold, washed-rind cheese. The chicatanas have been lightly toasted and salted on a traditional comal to preserve quality and may be consumed either whole (as a textural contrast to fresh avocado, for example, perhaps with a flourish of chepiche, our favorite herb) or blended into a traditional salsa (see recipe straight from the Vásquez family below). However you prepare the chicatanas, we hope you can take a moment to appreciate the importance of a fully-balanced approach to regenerative agriculture, one in which nothing goes to waste and biodiversity is fully embraced.
Vásquez Family Chicatana Salsa Recipe
1/4 lb chicatana ants
1/4 of white/yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 of chile serrano (other chiles are also acceptable)
1 small (toasted) avocado leaf
Salt to taste
Blend ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth. Water may be slowly incorporated to achieve desired viscosity.
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