Roasted Moreton Bay Bug Tail, Caponata, Sherry Vinegar & Celery Cress

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 Large Moreton Bay Bugs – whole and raw (1 Bug per person)
2 Medium Eggplants
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
2 Celery Sticks
1/2 Leek
1 Sml Red Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tbls Chopped Parsley
1 Tbls Chopped Dill
1 Tbls Chopped Chives
2 Tbls Toasted Pinenuts
2 Tbls Currants
50ml Red Wine Vinegar
100ml Olive Oil
50ml Sherry Vinegar
2 Tbls Sugar
Salt & Pepper

Prepare Bugs:

  1. Carefully remove the tail from bug and turn on its back, using scissors cut down each side and remove the tail in 1 whole piece.
  2. Remove any coral and digestive track with your fingers and place 2 small wooden skewers inside bug tail length ways (this stops the tail from curling up when cooking).
  3. Place the bug in a steamer for 90 seconds and then plunge into ice cold water. Pat dry on paper towel and then set aside in the fridge until ready to serve (note: the bug will still be raw inside, the steaming process is just to set the flesh and shape before it is roasted).


  1. Take one of the eggplants and prick it a few times with a knife. Place on an open flame, turning every minute or so until charred on all 4 sides. Place in a moderate oven for 10 minutes until soft. Once cool, peel skin, then place the skinless eggplant in the blender with some garlic, oil, salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Blend until smooth and then set the eggplant puree aside.
  2. Dice the second eggplant, both peppers, leek, onion and celery. In a large fry pan sauté the eggplant on high heat in half of the olive oil until golden brown. Place on a large tray to cool.
  3. Return the fry pan to heat and add leeks, onion, celery and peppers – sweat the vegetables until they are soft (but don’t colour). Add vinegar and sugar, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix the vegetables with the cooked eggplant and then add chopped herbs, pinenuts and currants. Set aside.
  5.  Cook bugs in a hot pan with garlic, oil, salt and pepper until golden brown. Finish in a moderate oven for 2 minutes, then remove skewers.


  1. Spoon a large dollop of the eggplant puree onto 4 plates.
  2. Spoon 1/4 of the caponata (vegetable mix) onto each plate.
  3. Place 1 bug tail on the top of each plate and then dress with a little sherry vinegar, olive oil & celery cress for garnish!