Before you start ewwwwing, stop and consider that we have consumed the eggs of birds, reptiles, and fish abundantly throughout human history. What precludes us from whipping up a batch of insect eggs? The name escamoles comes from the Aztec tongue, Nahuatl, combining azcatl (ant) and molli (stew) – a logical descriptor for the creamy white edible larvae of ants.

Like other forms of rare “caviar”, escamoles are an expensive treat that must be collected exclusively between February and April from the high plains of Central Mexico, where the velvety tree ant burrows into the roots of maguey plants.

Escamoles look a little like small pine nuts and they have a poppy texture—although they do not spew liquid as do fish eggs. Rather, they offer a nutty taste with a hint of meaty umami. To protect the delicate flavor, escamoles are most often prepared simply, fried in butter with onion and chili, and served with corn tortillas.