Balmain bug salad with rocket, asparagus and saffron aïoli

Whip up a healthy seafood feast for summer and delight lunch or dinner guests!  

This quick and easy entrée, using already cooked bugs, can be prepared an hour or so ahead of time, covered and refrigerated; remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving and drizzle on the aïoli at the last moment.

Ingredients:

8 cooked Balmain bugs
200g wild or baby rocket, washed and dried
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 bunches thin green asparagus, blanched (see tips below)

For the Saffron Aïoli  
Pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon of water for 15 minutes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ cup whole-egg mayonnaise (see tips below) 

Directions:

1. Make Saffron Aïoli: whisk saffron mixture and garlic into mayonnaise. Set aside.
2. Slice 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.
3. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss with rocket. Mound on a serving platter and arrange asparagus spears and bug meat on top.
4. Drizzle over some of the Saffron Aïoli and serve with remaining Aïoli passed separately.

Tips:

  • If you don’t want to make your own mayonnaise, use one made from whole eggs such as Paul Newman’s Own or Thomy.
  • If asparagus is thick and woody, discard the woody bottom section and peel the spears with a potato peeler. 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. 
  • Alternative species: Balmain bug, marron, prawns, redclaw, scampi, yabby.